If Not Now, Then When?

“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” – Les Brown

You want to make a significant career change? If not now, then when?

You want to experience what life abroad is like? If not now, then when?

Thinking about telling someone how you really feel about them? If not now, then when?

An old friend of mine and I were grabbing coffee at a trendy warehouse coffee shop in Culver City this morning. We were catching up on everything that happened in the past six months since we last saw each other. We discussed the usual: careers, boyfriends (or lack of, on my end), and crazy and important events that happened recently.

When I brought up my New York City trip that was coming up, my friend exclaimed that she was thinking of moving there in the next several months. It was nothing set in stone, but she definitely was considering it.

She reasoned with me, “I want to have kids one day, a family, and all of that. I won’t be able to make spontaneous decisions once I’m settled. So, if not now, then when?

My younger twenties were heavily guided by this mantra. I wanted to experience life, because who knew if I would ever be guaranteed the time in the future? I wanted to see the world, and I knew I wanted to do so while I was young and had a whole lot fewer responsibilities.

I was given the best advice from my father’s best friend. He’s a man in his early 50s, with two children and happily onto his second marriage. I was hanging out at his house one day for a BBQ and discussing with my dad and his best friend where I would travel to after college.

My dad’s immediate response was to exclaim, “You should get a job! You need to start your career.” I don’t blame him. He grew up in a vastly different time than I did. And looking back, maybe he resented the freedom I had. Perhaps this was the first sign that a mere two years later, he would leave his job and move abroad.

But contrary to my dad’s opinion, his best friend told me to see the world. He told me how he wished he’d done the same, because traveling as an adult is wildly different than being an inhibition-free 22-year old. “You’ll see the world through a different lens. It’ll change you,” he emphasized.

And I’ve carried that general idea of decision-making ever since.

Now, I’m not saying to drop everything and pursue your wildest dreams. Do not pack up a bag, board a plane to Italy, leave your family with $20 and a letter to remember to feed the dog.

That’s called ruining your life. And I’m not here to try to do that.

But regardless of your circumstances, we all have one life to live. We all have desires we secretly want to fill, and only a select amount of time that we’ll be alive to do them.

We also have fears, overactive imaginations, and other people’s opinions keeping us from really seeing how we could make a big life decision come to fruition. With all of these factors working as obstacles, it’s easy to think that you’ll just do things later in life, maybe when you’re less busy or perhaps when you have fewer responsibilities.

But I’m here to tell you that that time will never come. Your worries will never subside. There will never be a “perfect time.” It simply does not exist.

So if not now, then when? When will there ever be a more perfect time to start a new endeavor than the present? Because who knows what will happen in the future; all we know is that we are guaranteed today. We’re guaranteed the breath we are taking right now.

If you want to pursue a hobby as a full-time career, start mapping out how that will look for you. How much money do you need to have saved? Will your spouse be able to bring in enough income? Could you start working on building your new business while you’re still at your current job?

Or perhaps you want to live abroad for some time. Do some research on where you want to live: decide how much your cost of living would be. Figure out if you would need to rent out your current place to pay off the mortgage.

The first step doesn’t have to be a giant leap. It can be a little movement forward that gets you going in the right direction. Doing research into how you could feasibly make a change is a perfect way to start moving in the right direction.

I believe we all have an obligation to those around us and the world to pursue what we really desire. That in this pursuit, we will change and grow into the best version we can be. Sure, it won’t be a steady path, but stepping out of our comfort zone is rewarding in itself.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” – Steve Jobs

So put the doubts, fears, and questions aside. Stop thinking you can start tomorrow or in several years. There’s never going to be a better time than now to pursue what you want.

You just need the courage, a little planning, and a bit of wild dreaming to live out your passions. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Dating + Relationship Writer & Coach

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