A young person reminded me that we can always do things differently no matter the stage of life we are in.
“Stage of life” – this phrase alone has bound or constrained many. How often have we been told, how often have we heard the narratives of “you should be doing this at this stage of your life” or “if you are not…by a certain age, it’ll be too late” or “it’s too late to change career…” or “now is not the time to do…” or “you’re too young to be considering…” or “this is not the right time…”
There is a certain wisdom in being mindful of right moments…which comes from a grounded and centred place of knowing what we truly want and taking committed action. If our vision requires time and preparation, then committed action means staying the course and taking steps or doing what’s necessary which will contribute to making the vision a reality. There is an intentionality here.
This is not the same as doing something just because we are in particular decade of our life. To follow imposed standards of behaviour based on age or “stage of life” mindlessly or without intentionality creates discontent or dissatisfaction, don’t you think?
I have been questioned as to why I still study. What good will it do me? Simple answer, because I am by nature curious and I enjoy learning. I have not stopped learning, whether through formal education or informally in my daily experiences. Perhaps this is why I need much solitude so I can reflect and consider. As I say often, I am indeed privileged to be able to do so, therefore why squander such opportunity?
“Stage of life” narratives may present as good advice say, telling us late teens and 20s are for formal education and striving to establish one’s career. It seems we can take it easy when we have established ourselves or when we retire? I am conservative enough to believe there is still value in formal education – to the extent it provides a framework or a foundation for future explorations. It is not the destination.
The assumptions underlying outdated “stage of life” narratives are perhaps that we can only ever do one thing well at a time, or be one thing at any specific time. Can one be a student and start a business at the same time? A traveller while studying? Be a parent and have a career? Be a retiree and still work or learn? Be an entertainer and do charitable works? The answer is yes, though each of us will do so differently and only if we ignore the limiting narratives. And who are we to judge?
I did all the “right things” at the “right time”, with one or two exceptions. Perhaps that’s why I am in a privileged place of having opportunities and choices? I will never know what my parallel lives encompass 🙂 . The world is much changed since I had to be doing one thing at a “right time”. There are myriad of opportunities available now (though not to everyone) and in different forms.
Do what makes you feel fulfilled and accomplished. Be who makes you feel worthy as a human living this life.
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