Saturday, November 22, 2003

No 30.

You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you

Song: Time
Album: Dark Side Of The Moon

Carpe diem. That is a cliché that is trotted out very frequently when someone hesitates over doing something important. As with most clichés, though, it is actually very sound advice. How often have you put off making a decision or doing something that will change your life because you were worried, afraid or just plain lazy? And how often have you looked back later and regretted that hesitation?

I once had a fantastic job offered to me on a plate and I turned it down. The role was to oversee the total restructuring of the business systems and procedures of the British arm of an international distribution company. This was within a year of graduating and, although at that time I wanted to go into Management Accounting, I was seriously tempted. The only thing that stopped me, I think was that the starting salary was not really what I wanted, even if it was likely to go up considerably if I did well. I wrestled with the decision and put off making it for quite a while.

Eventually I decided to carry on along my chosen path instead of taking it. Just two months later I'd got a job with an insurance services company in the city and my hopes of Management Accounting faded away. Even though the job I had paid more than the one I'd turned down, it wasn't nearly as interesting and I regretted the decision until I got the job I now have (which was as a direct result of the work I had been doing for the IS company). Even now, when I wouldn't change a thing (after all I now have a good job with interesting, challenging work, I'm married and buying a house and life is good - would any of it happened had I decided otherwise?), I still sometimes regret that the chance to do something as challenging and unique as that went begging.

Carpe diem is not just about biting the bullet and making a choice, however. It's also about not letting life pass you by. Drifting along, just existing, the days, weeks and months merging together. Do you want to look back at your life in ten year's time and wonder what you've been doing with it? Or do you want to look back and think to yourself, "Yeah, I did all that and I relished every moment of it"?

It's not that hard a choice, is it?

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