Life lessons and real life skills: They aren’t for making our lives pain-free — life is messy and hurts sometimes for all of us, no matter how much effort (or hope or wistful thinking or fairy dust) we put into the contrary. Instead, these lessons and skills can be helpful guideposts and warmth for when the journey gets confusing, cold, and lonely.
I share these lessons for my kids — this is the stuff you don’t learn in a classroom. They may not care about them today (I get it — the lessons aren’t yet relevant to help a big enough pain point where they want to make a change or take action), though the day may well come when they are useful and needed, and if a seed has been planted, my kids may have an easier time dealing with the bumps. I also do it for myself — because life is a continued process of learning. And sometimes I need a reminder, too.
Today’s life lesson is about kicking cans:
Be careful about kicking the can down the road — whether that be in the form of delaying a decision, taking out a loan, or putting off work until later. Because the time will come when the decision has to be made (or will be made by someone else and you might not like their decision), the loan comes due (because loans are not free money and there is no one coming to save you but yourself), and the work needs to be done (whether convenient or not). And is that THEN space going to be truly different or easier than this NOW space? Probably not as much as any of us think (or hope) it will be.
This isn’t to say that you should never kick a can down the road. Sometimes a little extra time can help you get ready to make a better decision, the space created through borrowing can set you up for even more expansive future growth, and taking a rest now can give you the reset needed to re-engage with the work more effectively and efficiently (or get clear on your priority list and then handle things appropriately).
Rather, it’s about opening your eyes and getting thoughtful, deliberate, and honest with yourself about what you’re truly asking and looking for, what will be required of you to make it happen now AND in the future, and how kicking the can today will impact your choices down the road for when you come upon the can again. Because you will.
Falling into an eyes closed, default “just keep kicking it” mode (which can be easy to do if you’re not paying attention)? That sets you up for a rocky, debt-ridden, and (very likely) painful future where your next choices may become more limited due to the choice of continual can kicking.
So that can in front of you today: slow down and ask a few questions before scratching that urge to kick it.
Does it truly make sense to kick it right now? And if it does, what’s your plan for being ready when you come upon it again?
Then, once you’ve taken that breather and gotten honest with yourself, make your can kicking choice.