Have you ever watched a movie that made you recall past moments from your life that still follow you today? In 2002, the movie The Time Machine was released starring Guy Pearce. This was the movie that made me think about my life.
Guy Pearce played a character who was looking for the answer to a question. This same question haunts so many people today: “What if?” It’s amazing how two words can be so powerful that they can cause people to live a life filled with regret. When you live a life of regret, your perception of new opportunities becomes blurred. Depending on the circumstances of the person, regrets may lead to the negative belief that their situation is permanent.
From the day we were born into this world, mistakes were already a part of our future. So, this brings us to the ultimate question mentioned previously, “What if?” Are there some areas in your life about which you ask yourself, “What if?”
Let’s look at some areas in life that would make a person ask this question.
The “what if” question regarding education is normally asked when someone is seeking better employment opportunities. Today, education has become one of the key factors for obtaining a higher paying job. Job positions that used to require a high school diploma now state a college degree as a prerequisite. Many people ask themselves, “What if I went to college?” or “What if I had put more effort into studying?”
As a teenager, it may be difficult to understand the importance of a good education. High school and college students face a wide range of distractions due to friends, family issues, financial problems, and even social media. We can easily attribute this to the growing pains of life experienced by the youth, but the lack of focus on education may place them in a difficult situation later.
To get ahead in life, you must commit to continuing your education.
One of the top priorities for many people in life is to obtain financial freedom. Unfortunately, some people fail to grasp that financial freedom today does not guarantee a stable retirement for the future.
We’ve all heard the stories of older adults struggling to make ends meet because they did not properly plan their retirement. Some of the retirement plans that people use are 401(k) or 403(b), Solo 401(k), SEP IRA, Simple IRA, IRA, Roth IRA, and Health Savings accounts. Depending on the plan you select, it can be set up through your employer or as an individual. To most people, these are simple solutions out of which they just select one and thence start contributing to their plan.
The problem that prevents some people from contributing to one of these retirement plans is their salary. If someone is making $70,000 or $150,000 a year, investing in a retirement plan may not have any effect on their other financial obligations. However, for individuals making $24,000 to $50,000, any additional deductions apart from taxes will greatly impact their ability to meet other financial obligations. When people decline to participate in a retirement plan, we can’t assume that they do not care about their future.
Many people today live their life under very strict budget constraints. Individuals employed by companies with low salary rates may not have the extra income available to contribute to a retirement program. Hopefully, the economy will improve soon to allow better-paying jobs to help compensate as the cost of living constantly increases.
Health and Wellness
Maintaining a regular exercise program and eating healthy can reduce some chronic diseases as well as allow you the chance to enjoy a better quality of life.
At the age of 40, some people begin to feel the effects of aging. Some of the changes that occur as we begin to age are the need for reading glasses, soreness in bones and joints, and respiratory and digestive problems. Health and wellness form another area in life about which many older people ask, “What if?” “What If I had stopped smoking?” “What if I had taken the time to exercise regularly?” “What if I had learned how to handle stress?”
During our youth, we don’t think about these questions because we are living for today or the next year. To live a full life, we must learn how to invest in our health and wellness. Think of it as a retirement plan with a return of reduced health issues and medical expenses.
When it comes to the past years of my life about which I reminisce at times, I find myself asking the “what if” question.
At some point, have you thought about doing any of the things from the list below?
- Going back to school
- Starting to work out/lose weight
- Visiting another country
- Starting a business/writing a book
- Buying a house
- Learning a new language
- Breaking a bad habit
- Planning your retirement
- Visiting or calling an old friend/forgiving someone
- Going to church
There may be other things that you have thought about doing but you may have decided the time wasn’t right. Every year should end with something you dreamed about accomplishing.
Many people will continue to delay acting on their goals and dreams, only to find out that a year’s delay has now turned into five years. At the end of the five years, they feel the harsh reality of the wasted years. No one wants to reach the age of 60 asking the “what if” question. One of the greatest feelings in life comes from conquering our goals.
I hope that after reading this article, you have made a conscious decision to conquer some of the goals in your life. It doesn’t matter how small or insignificant they seem to other people. Having a sense of fulfillment in your life gives you hope and a desire to accomplish bigger and better things.
Let’s try to change how we view the years of life by not asking the question “What if?” but rather speaking boldly and saying, “I did it!”