Our elders in the Yoruba land have a very simple but profound saying which, over the years, people have taken for granted or have just decided to neglect despite the weight that it carries. I grew up hearing people say things like, ‘ma wo ago alaago se ise.’ That can be interpreted to mean ‘don’t work with other people’s timing!’
In life you just have to admit the fact that your timing is so different from the person or the people around you and you cannot afford to always get agitated by the progress they make and the timing they have for the programmes in their lives. I really like to say that working with other people’s timing means you are living on borrowed time.
What does it mean to live on borrowed time? Someone decides to get married and you look out for the bio data of the person only for you to realized that the person is your age mate so you conclude that if she is getting married then you must get married as soon as possible. When you begin to run your life by other people’s plan for their lives then you are living on borrowed time. Someone wants to go for a doctorate degree and you think the next thing for you to do is to go for a doctorate degree, not because you feel so convinced about the degree but because you will want to say at the end of the day that your friends who started school with you now have a doctorate degree and you also have one. The right thing to do for you at this time might be to prepare the future of your children or to go on some other projects other than getting an additional degree. Some friends are going into the banking industry and you feel the next thing you should do is to go into the banking industry when you know so well that while growing up you didn’t have a flair for figures except when it is the money given to you! It feels good to be called an engineer and you have seen the reverence given to some of them so you also go on the path of engineering when you just might do better engineering the destinies of people as a strong and skilled communicator!
A number of times people will never know that they are living on borrowed time or working strictly by the plans and vision of other people because some of the plans they are following are seemingly very good plans. You will never see anything wrong in doing those things until you begin to ask yourself questions about the motive of doing those things. Buying a car because a friend has a car already and you need to measure up is living on borrowed timing because you may buy the car and realize that what you should have saved up for the your next rent or your new house. A young folk may have saved some money and would go for a sophisticated sound system because every friend in the neighbourhood has a system that can shake the building but when priorities are put in place what that young folk needs is a laptop that can boost his academic pursuit. Some other parents also push their children on the parts of borrowed time by dictating for them their career paths in life against the strong desires of those children. If there is anything I am grateful for in my educational pursuit it will be the fact that my parents did not decided for me what course to study or what path to follow. No matter what path you think a child should follow it will only be your will that will be fulfilled immediately. As soon as the child has to face life that child will find himself drifting towards the field of his strength or strong passion and will regard the previous years as wasted years because that was never what he wanted. That’s how some parents help their children to live on borrowed time.
We must realize that it is a disaster to live on borrowed time and here are some of my reasons:
– The borrowed time should have been spent doing some other things that will get you to your destination faster.
– It is also a disaster because when you realize the only important thing for you to do, all that you have done in the past may never have any relevance to what you really need to do now so you have to start all over in life.
– The realization of living on borrowed time will make you spend more than you bargained for since you have been spending money following up the things that are other people’s plans.
– When you live on other people’s time you will never have the fulfillment that you need in life but when there is a comparison among your mates, maybe in your workplace, you may be a little satisfied with yourself because the result of the comparison shows that you are not doing bad among your contemporaries. While the result of the comparison certifies you okay you know deep down on the inside of you that you seem to be doing fine but this is not where you belong.
How to avoid living on borrowed time
– Do your envisioning for yourself – create your pictures of your future yourself
– Live according to plan – every house is built according to plan, just enter new phases of your life every time by the plans you have carefully drawn up before that phase.
– Never get intimidated by the tall dreams of others – follow your dreams and realize that the reason some people get carried away is because they listen to some other people sweet talk about their dreams and ambitions. No matter how beautiful a vision looks, if it’s not yours it’s not yours. Don’t get involved and don’t run by it!
– Always have a plan that you can reach easily – when you have no plan to reach easily then you have nothing to put you in check and can therefore drift without observing it.
Retracing your steps if you think you are on borrowed time
– Ask yourself what you really think you are supposed to be doing.
– What is it that will really give you true satisfaction without the influence of peer pressure or societal demands?
– If you have to take a new degree or change your current programme then you must do that so that you do not regret it later.
– For some other people all they need to do is to change their career path since the basic programmes have given them skills that can be transferred into different fields. Seat, think and act because a change is necessary.
– Go back to the time when you were trying to fine tune your own plan before you began to run with other people’s plans or visions.
– When you have found the new path to go on, you must drop all other plans you have been running with if they have no relevance to where you are going in life.
– Review those innate desires to which you have said, ‘there’s no time or I wish I had time.’ Remember that so many people keep saying to the original things they are supposed to be doing that they do not have time because they spend all the time doing what they should never have started!
It is my belief that those who will say at the end of their lives that life is nothing or that it is not worth the input are those who would have lived so long on borrowed time. You can stop living on borrowed time right now because the short time you have to yourself is not even enough for you in the first place.