So I had the privilege of speaking and interacting for a long while with a great woman almost in her eighties. A mother to someone relatively close to me and as I continued to chat with this smart, witty and graceful grandmother, I noticed an interesting pattern.
I realized she mostly talked about things of the past. Most of the gist were about the things that happened and the things she did many years ago. She recalled and recounted how life was and how Nigeria was forty years ago, fifty years ago, the opportunities there were and the very many things that happened.
She spoke with a glint in her eyes about exciting times, exciting moment, events, experiences and people. She spoke to me naming names of friends, colleagues, bosses, relatives and even government officials; what they did, how they helped her or otherwise, not forgetting to mention if they were dead or still alive. She kept talking to me about these people as though she expected I should know them; these were friends and associates of forty years or fifty years ago. She spoke of her late husband and the things they did together as though I missed out on the fun they had together when he was still alive; I mean how it concerned me I still do not know, but I listened.
What is this pattern I referred to earlier? I’ve come to observe all the people I interact with that have crossed the age of seventy seem to talk much more of things of the past than of the future.
They remember things, the great times, the tough times, the sweet times and the sad times, they remember it so well and talk about it with passion and excitement. It’s as if they thrive and make meaning of each day talking about the past. The reason for this, in my opinion, is not far-fetched, I presume it’s because they know they do not have much time left in this world, they also do not have the energy, drive and network to chase any new dream or exciting adventure, hence they delight in what they’ve done and perhaps pay attention to what their offspring are doing. What l also seem to notice sometimes is pain and regret in their eyes. For some, the pain of loved ones gone home, the pain of loneliness, the pain of opportunities lost, the pain of disappointment in themselves and sometimes in their children, the pain of rejection, isolation and for some; financial insecurity, but most profound is the pain of wrong choices and decisions in their past and the perpetual repercussions.
They think and talk about so many things they didn’t do well, things they would have handled differently, opportunities they let slip past them and regrets of bad behaviors and irresponsible things they did. For Audio Version Click here
If you juxtapose this against conversing with a young person in his thirties or even forties today, such a mind is mostly preoccupied with the future; the things he wants to do, achieve, accomplish, and apprehend in this lifetime. Young people talk about building fancy houses, buying fancy cars, exciting and fascinating travel experiences, buying the latest designer wears, fancy electronics and gadget, also on their mind is the desire to enjoy life and have great fun in this world.
In your eighties, your mind is replaying your past, in your thirties and forties, your mind is pre-playing your desired future. However, many young people erroneously think the future is very far away. They assume they have a lot of time, so they talk, think, plan and get excited but do nothing! Until age suddenly happen on them. They think seventy or eighty is like forever, until they become grandparents, suddenly. Then their thinking will shift from pre-playing the future to replaying the past; they have, without knowing it crossed the season. It’s too late to do much anymore, the energy, connection, agility and sound health all gone, their life has been majorly spent talking, thinking, planning, getting excited but doing nothing. Every year gone by is gone forever, then they realized they never really lived to their true potential, they kept postponing the day or year of necessary actions until it became too late to fulfil their dreams.
My dear friend, what is your dream? How do you want your life to be? What do you really want to be and do in this life? Do you have a clue? Are you living or just existing? Is your life meaningful or you’re just hustling? What do you hope to be known for or described as at the end of your days? What impact would you have made in your world and in the world? What’s your God-given talent? What’s your God-ordained destiny? When is your action time?
Are you living your dreams or still procrastinating? Are you still full of excuses or you’re facing life as it really is?
Whether there is electricity or not, infrastructure or not, sound economy or not, good governance or not, your age is not waiting for all that, you are getting older by the day and your youthful strength is ebbing away daily while you’re busy complaining, lamenting and blaming everything and everyone. There’s no problem with pressuring those in authority to do the right thing but you can’t afford to pause your life till situations improve and everything is perfect before you do something. It is impossible to pause your life you can only suspend your dreams, suspend your vision, pause your activities, postpone your activities or procrastinate your activities until it’s too late for you to do much with your life.
I challenge you this morning to rethink your life, choices and decisions. That which you have to do, just do it, do it now, it may look difficult, hard and rough but its better you endure all these and succeed than to be filled with untold regret at old age for not trying. Start the business, write the exam, start the program, learn the skill, join that useful association, start reading great books, let go of time wasters and detractors, follow your dream, activate your vision and fulfil your destiny. Don’t tie your destiny to things you can’t control. Stop wasting time, you don’t have to get married before chasing great things in life, you don’t have to turn a certain age before you activate that dream, whatever you have the ability to do today, create time for it and do it today, lose some sleep, spend some money, sacrifice some pleasure, make up your mind today, build and secure a fulfilling future. Build your life, make sure you have no future regrets, do something now!