We are born, soon after we learn to talk, walk, and way too soon after we go to school. Our life becomes structured, and our brain absorbs as much as it can so we can learn about life, history, geography, how to make paper mache fish (oh how I loved that class years ago!). We go from one grade to the next, and suddenly we are in college. We are told to figure out what we want to do in life, and when college life is over, we find ourselves looking for a full time, grown-up job. Over 20 years has passed and we have mostly spent our time in school, so we can find a good job. Alight, I’m exaggerating a little. Only because I want to make a point. We finally find a job that will give us 10 days of vacation time, AND probably make us feel guilty when we do take that time off. So we go on vacation and still work to make up for it. We “werk, werk, werk, werk, werk”, so we can retire someday and do all the things we don’t have time to do now. We hope for a future where we will have enough money and health to fully enjoy retirement. Im only 30, so I’m not here to tell you about living as a retired person, but I am here to tell you about what I’m NOT going to do.
I’m NOT going to wait until I’m retired to take my vacation properly. I’m not going to wait until I have time to do the things that I love. The time to do those things is now. I’m not going to use excuses like “travel is too expensive,” or “I have too many things on my to-do-list” to keep me from living life now. Prioritizing means giving up some things to get others. Maybe your priority is getting your nails done every two weeks and spending over $1000 a year doing that, or drinking coffee at Starbucks every day and spending probably over $700 a year (I know, you just can’t function without it), or eating out every day (I won’t even try to calculate this one), or happy hours and lots, and lots of drinks…. I’m not saying any of those things are wrong, or shouldn’t be done, however, I am saying if you live on a budget, you will have to give some of those things up in order to get the things you want MORE out of life. It’s simply to easy to seat around and complain or compare.
I also want to say that if someone wants to spend $3000 on a purse, and that’s what’s going to make their heart happy, by all means, THEY SHOULD! They shouldn’t have to apologize or be criticized for it. We need to learn that people are DIFFERENT, and that’s OK. It’s not because my priorities are not the same as someone else’s that mine are better or more valuable (yes, they might be in your eyes but your opinion is not the only one that matters). If someone can afford to do it all, DO IT! Live, because life truly is too short.
My American parents, who were missionaries, told me about washing their laundry in the bathtub of their little apartment years ago when they moved to America, because their dream was to visit Europe. Their dream came true, one quarter at a time.
I’ve been looking through my trip photos, remembering places like Germany, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Malaysia… and I’m going to be honest, it makes my heart happy to travel. I have visited 32 countries and 4 continents. I have prioritized traveling and made sacrifices to make traveling multiple times a year a reality while working full time as a photographer.
I don’t want to wait until I’m retired. My time is now.