Setting goals for life is one thing, but we also must pursue them
Sometimes we say, 'I'll start tomorrow,' but tomorrow never comes
I always joke a lot about getting older. Although there might be some perks to remaining in my 20s forever, I’ve never been afraid to grow old. I do fear, however, that some of my goals might be cut short by Friedreich’s ataxia (FA).
I’ve grown comfortable with the constant readjusting that comes with having a progressive condition. But sometimes I worry that I’ve settled too much in life, at least as it is right now. Although FA presents fundamental and challenging limitations, I’ve learned to adapt and be content with where I’m at or what I do. But at the same time, I’m not living my dream life, and I can’t quiet my mind about that thought.
One phrase I think about repeatedly is “nothing happens by accident.” In other words, whatever I want to achieve or accomplish requires concerted effort and discipline.
I’ve thought about that word “discipline” a lot since I heard Kyle Bryant, who also has FA, share an Abraham Lincoln quote on “Two Disabled Dudes,” the podcast we co-host. “Discipline,” Lincoln said, “is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.”
That quote was a gut punch for me. It caused me to pause, take a deep breath, and realize that I have some habits to adjust if I want to achieve what I most want. For example, on the mornings when I enjoy my first sip of a cold brew from Starbucks, I remind myself that these types of “right now” treats don’t help me move toward my long-term goal of buying a home.
Now, I don’t mean to get too out of hand here. Some simple pleasures have a valid place in our daily routines. But spending $6 a day on a cup of coffee adds up.
Taking the next step
I’ve been wondering what my next steps should be and when I should take them, in regards to my career, personal growth, or important extracurricular activities. Although I’m not crystal clear about the actions I should take, simply keeping Lincoln’s definition of discipline at the front of my mind has caused me to examine what I do and how I spend my time, energy, and money. That helps me gain clarity about the ways I can move toward what I want most.
It’s far too easy for me to say, “I’ll start tomorrow.” But that tomorrow often never comes.
I’ve always been a proponent of setting goals and making New Year’s resolutions. But instead of waiting until the new year, I took a big step today in my personal development. I’ve been saving money and exploring growth opportunities, and as part of that I finally enrolled in a career coaching and personal development program that’s designed to help people identify and pursue progress, whatever that may look like to them.
During a phone call today with my career coach, and while teetering between what I’ve always done and a plunge toward a long-contemplated something else, a Chinese proverb came to mind: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
I don’t believe the right time will ever make itself known, no matter the topic, issue, or concern. Instead, it’s up to us to make it the right time. No matter your age, we’re all running out of time. There’s no good excuse for waiting.
Note: Friedreich’s Ataxia News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Friedreich’s Ataxia News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Friedreich’s ataxia.