Personal Deadlines

There’s nothing like a billion doctor’s appointments to make you think about life. Through that, I have come to think about personal deadlines and procrastination. Now, I know (and have been assured) that I’m as healthy as can be and all the tests are essentially to confirm that my body is weird and there’s nothing wrong with me. But, when you have to go as far as having a bone marrow biopsy, you tend to think about life, and this is what I have come up with.

1) Don’t judge yourself using others as a basis. One of my best friends is a lawyer and he doesn’t like his job. He spent all that money to go through law school and doesn’t hate it, but neither does he like it. Prince Scientist is about 30 and is doing amazingly well. I…am not in as stable of a place as one, and I am in a much better financial place than the other, yet my job is definitely inferior to both. Everyone is different. My gay friend laments that he is 40 and not married, while all his straight friends are (and many of the gay ones now). I tell him that he shouldn’t judge himself by their relationships, that straight people don’t have to come out and shift their perceptions of everything, and that it’s better to be single than to attach to yourself to someone who isn’t good for you and doesn’t help you grow (mirroring the advice he gave me at…ironically…a gay couple’s wedding).

2) Set deadlines without restraint, and then work backwards. If you want to buy a house in five years, you need to get a job that will allow reasonable payments and look in an appropriate area. Dream big, play make believe for a bit, and don’t limit yourself. If you want to finish a novel by the end of the year, set deadlines for the planning, research, character sketches, synopsis, first draft, second draft, beta readers, etc. and work backward to that. If you want to be married and own your own house in 5-10 years, then get out of your apartment, meet people, don’t be desperate, and start thinking about where you want to live.

3) Once the dreams are dreamed, be realistic. Don’t say you want to get in shape for this summer when you’re 3,500 pounds and it’s May 14th. Unless you’re a rhinoceros. With the home owning goal, don’t look in Beverly Hills if you have a ghetto Compton budget. If, for instance, living in a decent part of Southern California is too expensive, think about moving locations/states and/or jobs…or gather fifteen of your closest friends and run a hostel in which you may be granted a room. If you don’t want to move to Tennessee where cost of living is cheap — but you’re in Tennessee, so life sucks anyway — find a place that offers a good cost of living balance, and consider moving there. If you want to finish that epic fantasy novel by the end of December and you haven’t started by mid-November…you may not make it. Be realistic.

4) Make 1, 5, and 10 year plans. Things change. Life changes and sometimes the goals we set don’t come to us or we are forced down a different path. But how can you know what path to go down if you don’t know your goal? If you prefer a unfettered life, where you wish to change on a whim, then choose wisely. Know that you want a house and a career in 10 years. Time to work your butt off at those unfettered jobs until you get there.

5) Be flexible, but don’t allow yourself to give up. I have a very dear friend who had a hard and fast date to be out of her abysmal living situation. Things totally beyond her control — several things — got in her way and obliterated those well-laid plans. However, her tenacity is absolutely inspiring. Rather than give up or think that it’s not meant to be, she adjusted her time line, realized there are things beyond her control, and worked to fix those she could. While her ultimate goal and drive may still land her in the place she desired, she made a Plan B, otherwise known as Plan: Get the Fuck Out. She wouldn’t give up on Plan A unless Plan GTFO ended up being better overall.

It’s easier said than done, but the alternative is to stumble blindly in the general direction you want without ever knowing if you’ll end up there…or thinking you have 10 years to get there when you really have only 2.

 

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~ by Darren Endymion on June 8, 2015.

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