Life Is Not a Race

YoungMatthew Young’s article originally appeared in the July/August ’08 issue of Diversity Rules Magazine.  Matthew is a friend of Diversity Rules and is its “Canadian Connection.”  Matthew is the CEO of The Creative Ninja and resides in Toronto, Canada.

Many of you are not wondering where life will take you until one day, uneventfully; your mind wanders to the age-old question, “Where am I going in life?” By this time in your life you are undoubtedly recently broken up, widowed, or there is something definitely wrong with you. However, there is one question that you should ask yourself, “Why should you be so concerned?” Now I know many of you “planners” are saying, “He has to be kidding, right?” Well no, I’m not kidding.

Do you remember the last time you were actually given a chunk of time you didn’t need to fill up with things you needed or wanted to do? By habit, most of us would start filling up that time with things we wanted to accomplish. However, could you imagine what you would do with that time if you just let it be free time with no planning whatsoever? Ever since, for me, that fateful day in grade 8 mathematics class when the principal walked in and handed Mr. Sanders, our high-school course selection forms, it has been a question of, “What do you want to do with your life?” It was from that point, at the menial age of only fourteen, the adults wanted us to start planning our lives. Now tell me if this is merely a standing point, or is it also the fact that at that same age they’re drilling it into our heads that we should enjoy being young while we can and to stop trying to grow up so fast? I think at fourteen we shouldn’t be concerned about what’s happening fifty years from now. I certainly switched my dream occupations around a million times when I was younger, and what a range I had. I wanted to be a cardiologist, fireman, lawyer, executive, then it was a policeman by the end of the week. How can we expect a fourteen-year-old to know the course of his life?

I can barely remember being a kid. The most satisfying memory that I can recall as a child is the fact that my head wasn’t jumbled with all this information everyone tells me I need to know. Honestly, the way technology is today, we have buttons to remember everything for us. Whether it is a cell phone remembering countless numeric combinations or a card telling a machine what our bank account numbers are. We are still required to learn to use this technology. It’s basically like a line of assistants working for us that have assistants for their assistants and they have assistants for their assistants.

Everyone has a different take, angle, slogan, quote or whatever on this topic. We all race through our days trying to cram as much as possible into them so that when the weekend arrives we can say, “I have enough time to go out on Saturday night to enjoy myself”. (Most of the time we’re still to exhausted from the work-week to admit to ourselves that we’re delusional). With that being said friends, there is help.

All those things we hear every day but dismiss are true. If you’re stressed out, take that ten seconds it takes to stop what you’re doing and breathe because if you don’t, you’re simply depriving that already damaged brain of vital life-giving oxygen, therefore, causing more brain damage. Stretch, because you just want to be flexible for when you get home to see you husband, wife, life partner, fuck buddy or cousin if it suits your demographic. We all hear things like that every day, but for some reason, we just dismiss them with a, “I’m way too busy to stop what I’m doing”. If you re-worded that sentence into, “I’m way too busy to stop and take a second for myself”, we might look differently at how we live our busy lives.

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