Will you pay down your layaway or leave it on hold? Either way, it’s ready to be picked up. While circumstances may not be ideal, small investments really do add up over time.
Remember, it’s always better to start somewhere. You can certainly wait for one day to arrive, but you may be waiting a long, long time.
Imagine you’re in the car on your way to college. The big day has finally arrived. It’s your first semester, and you can’t wait to start a new life. Excited yet nervous, it’s time to leave the old behind.
You spent years trying to decide on the right major. After much indecision, it’s a relief to have finally made a decision. It’s not exactly your passion or what you’ve dreamed of doing. Still, it’s a stable field, and one many say is up and coming.
Now visualize yourself in the back of a packed auditorium. It’s the first day of class. The school is much less personal than anticipated. The number of students is overwhelming.
You’re trying to focus on the lesson, but you can’t seem to stop your mind from wandering. You’ve been so busy preparing for the big day. This is the first time you’ve had a real moment to breath.
Everyone was so excited for you. You didn’t want to disappoint them, so you convinced yourself this was right for you.
Dreaming for a moment, your love for music comes to mind. You remember the music school you had always wanted to attend. Oh the memories, you were so young. Dreams were so alive back then. Others laughed at the idea. So, you set your vision to the side.
The thought lifts your spirit. Music has always been your passion. In fact, there’s nothing you enjoy more. But it’s necessary to put dreams on hold, at least for the time being.
You muster up the strength to get through class. You’re determined to stick it out. After all, you don’t want to let others down. Still, you can’t help but wonder what life would be like. What would you be doing today had you followed your heart?
Four years fly by in the blink of an eye. The big day finally arrives, and you’re ready to graduate. Excited yet apprehensive, it’s hard to believe how fast college years went by.
More dedicated than ever, you’re determined to find the perfect job. Focusing on much else is hard. All your time is spent preparing resumes, searching job sites and going on interviews. Finally out in the real world, those college memories are far behind.
An ad for a music position catches your attention while scrolling through job sites. Reminded of your love for music, you pause for a moment to daydream. Suddenly a thought comes to mind: Where would I be today had I followed my heart?
Spirit lifted for a moment, the thought makes you smile. But, it’s not the right time to dream. One day, not now. It’s important to stay focused. After all, you need to get real experience.
Five years later, things are going well with your career. You’ve worked your way up in the company. You’re proud to have moved from an entry-level position to mid-management. You begin to notice a shift in your mindset. Perhaps it’s time to settle down.
You’ve spent the last five years building a strong reputation in your field. There hasn’t been time for much else. It’s time for a much-needed vacation. Everyone deserves a break from time to time.
Relaxing on the beach, a not so familiar thought comes to mind. You barely recognize it. Busy with life, you had almost forgotten about your dream.
Either way, it’s a nice thought. Still, you can’t help but wonder what life would be like had you followed your heart. Spirit lifted for a moment, life is too busy for dreams.
Five years later you’re married with kids. Life is busier than ever. When not at work, there’s always something to do at home. Finding a moment to breath is difficult. But, you try to get out from time to time.
You’re out with the kids for the afternoon. You pass by a music store you hadn’t noticed before. Maybe it was always there. You’re not really sure. After all, you walked that same plaza so many times before. For whatever reason, you didn’t see it.
The kids nudge you to go into the store. You decide to stop in for just a moment. A feeling of nostalgia overwhelms you as you make your way around the store.
Suddenly something you hadn’t thought about for years comes to mind. What would life be like had I pursued my dream? Just the thought makes you smile. Reality quickly sets in. You’re completely worn out from the day. Not now, maybe later. When the kids are older, perhaps then I’ll pursue my dream.
Another fifteen years go by. The kids are ready to go off to college. It’s hard to believe how fast the years went by. You’re in a college auditorium with your older son. Wow, it’s hard to believe he’ll be starting college in a few short months. You’re listening to the opening speech, but your mind isn’t there. It’s drifted to another place in time.
Suddenly you see yourself driving off to college that afternoon so many years ago. The distress on your face was obvious, but you didn’t want to let others down. The sadness in your eyes was evident, but you were determined to stick it out. Then it hits you. Something you hadn’t thought about for over a decade comes to mind. Why didn’t I follow my heart?
Turning to your son, you see excitement mixed with apprehension in his eyes. You pause for a moment to think. Others had convinced you to take the conventional route. You encouraged him to do the same. His passion for art is evident, but you told him to pursue something more practical. You try to stop yourself but can’t help but speak out. “Son, I want you to follow your heart.”
Ever feel like your dreams are on layaway?
You made a small down payment then left them behind at the local department store. You weren’t quite ready to commit. But, you told yourself you would go back to pick them up later. Yes, there were times when you stopped by to put a little something down. Still, it was never a priority to pay the bill down.
Months went by, and it was even harder to stop by to make a payment. In fact, you barely remembered what you put on layaway. It was probably out of style. Maybe it wouldn’t have looked good on you anyway.
Dreams and goals start to feel distant if set to the side. Perhaps what you can do seems insignificant, so you wait for one day. When pushed away, it’s easy to grow more and more detached. Until one day, you don’t recognize them anymore.
Committing to small investments over time is hard. It may even feel like they don’t leave a dent. But, I can assure you it’s always better to start. If you start, you’ll end up somewhere. If you don’t, you’ll end up right where you start.
So, are you ready to make a payment on that layaway?
I have to run to make a payment on mine. I’m happy to say I’ll be making two payments today. You see, I’m done with waiting for one day to arrive. My one day is today.
It’s never too late to start. If you left a layaway behind and you’re ready to invest and start making payments, let’s get started.
Julie Barbera, author of the forthcoming book, Cracked Mirror, Clear Reflection
“Treasures Are Right Before Our Eyes, yet Many Miss Gems Searching for Pearls at the Bottom of the Sea.”