The Death of Deadlines

Photo by Neil B

Photo by Neil B

Birthdays are a lot like New Year’s Eve in that they're often a time when people reflect on the year that’s past, how they’ve grown, what they’ve accomplished, mistakes that they’ve made.  Some people fret about another year that’s gone by and how much shorter life seems after every 365 days.  Other people don’t think about it too much at all and just use it as an excuse to party.  I think I’ve done all three at one point or another.

But usually I spend at least a little time reflecting on all the things that have happened and how much I’ve changed over the course of a year.  I assume the average person goes through about as much or as little as I do in any given year, so I rarely find the need to openly share things I’ve learned or accomplished.  But as you reach your mid and late 20s, I think it’s only natural for a lot of people to start feeling like their youth is slipping away more and more quickly as their age rises.  I’ve certainly felt that before, but I’m finished with it.


Wait, There's Life After 30?


In the relatively unconventional life path I’ve chosen, I can’t use the lives and accomplishments of my peers as a comparison to my own, even if they’re in the same industry as me.  Life is long and I have a lot of time to do all the things I eventually want to do (hopefully, anyway).  I set no deadlines and I make no ultimatums.  I have goals and aspirations that I work towards every day, and as long as I’m doing everything within my power to be where I want to be, the rest is out of my hands.  All I can do is live life to the fullest extent that I know how; seeing where it takes me is the whole adventure of it all.  I have found that getting too specific with life’s grand plans only takes away from the point.  And the point is the unknown.  I prefer to keep specific goals and projects to shorter term time frames.  It makes so much more sense this way.  If you say “I’m going to do this before I’m 30,” you’re putting unnecessary pressure on yourself, causing you to worry about it now and later be disappointed with yourself if you don’t meet the arbitrary deadline.  Especially when there’s plenty of time afterwards to accomplish the goal just as well.


Keeping The "Dead" Out Of Life


Don’t say “I’m going to see the great pyramids before I’m 35.”  Don’t say “I want to be married by the time I’m 30.”  Keep the hopes and dreams, and lose the deadlines.  Your life will be so much more fulfilling that way.  Of course, you still have to go out there and do it.  You have to live your life.  You have to work towards the goals every day.  But if you say you want to see the pyramids before you’re 35, you might wait until you’re 34 and start to panic.  So start now.  Or start later.  But I think it’s a good general rule to not apply anything with the word “dead” on it to my life, so that includes deadlines.

I want to live in New Zealand someday.  I’m not sure when, but I definitely want to.  It could be when I’m 32.  It could be when I’m 52.  I’ll figure it out at some point, but I haven’t yet.  And that doesn’t matter.  Life’s not passing me by, I’m just along for the ride.  I can’t wait to see where it takes me.