The "Right" Time

The most common question I ask myself when making decisions is, "Is this the right time?" I probably ask it (or some variation of it) at least once a week, sometimes once a day. Sometimes it might be about small things such as, "Is this the right day to clean the house?" or "Is this the right time to buy this (or should I wait until payday)?" Sometimes it's about medium things such as, "Is this the right time to have this serious conversation?" or bigger things such as "Is this the right time to buy a new house?" My bet is that you likely ask yourself this same question with various situations in your own life.

Whenever we're facing the thought of a big life change (switching jobs, ending/entering a relationship, moving, etc.), it can be easy to think that if we just do it at the "right" time that it will somehow be easier. When we get caught up in thinking this way, typically one of two things happen: we either don't ever do the thing we want to do (because the timing never feels perfect) or we do it, but get disappointed by how hard it still is. Becoming a parent is STILL hard no matter when you do it. Planning a wedding can STILL be stressful no matter when you decide to get married. So what are we to do?

Well, one might argue that we should make an effort to notice when it would be a clearly "wrong" time to do something and to avoid these times at all cost. By process of elimination, if you've thought through and ruled out all the "wrong" times, then you must be left over with the "right" times...right? Sure, there might be some logic to this. It may be better to wait until your lease is up at your apartment to move instead of breaking your lease. It might be better to wait until you and your partner are already living together before deciding to have children. But even with these examples, there is still no magical "right" time. To make any sort of change requires a leap of faith. You still have to decide you're ready and wanting to move, get married, change careers, etc. and then after deciding, begin the process of doing it with a lot of unknowns looming on the horizon. Even when there aren't many noticeable roadblocks in your way stopping you from doing this change, it's likely that something internally is stopping you. 

I will be honest, this is a work in progress for me to start making a shift from thinking of the logistics of timing to thinking about the feeling of timing. It feels reckless to me and impulsive if I haven't thought through every possible scenario of how things could go wrong before I take action (essentially, finding all the reasons why now is the "wrong" time). When I think about doing something right now, all of the red flags in my mind start waving, screaming, "You can't do that because of (fill in the blank here)!" You can't do that because of money. You can't do that because you already have something else scheduled. You can't do that because someone else won't like it. You can't do that because it's too risky. If I let these reasons take over, no changes will ever happen. I will stay stuck. 

So instead, I now make an effort to notice the feelings involved with the decision. Something inside me emotionally is driving me to want to make this change. For example, if you want to quit your job, it's probably because you feel unhappy and miserable going there each day. These feelings are driving you to choose something different. If you're wanting to ask that person out, it's probably because you feel great and happy when you're with them. Internally, your emotions are telling you, "We want more of that! Start dating them!" Now, if we acted on everything our feelings told us to do, we have the potential to end up in a world of trouble (don't punch someone just because your anger tells you to). Because of that, we sometimes make the unconscious decision to not listen to them...ever. Instead, we think that if we just do the logical thing, if we just find the "right" time, then everything will be smooth sailing. 

But there is a way to tune in to what your feelings are telling you and then to make a decision about what to do from there, without getting caught up too much in the logic of it. Next time something is persistently on your mind and you find yourself talking yourself out of it, sit in silence for a few minutes and notice what your emotion is about the situation. How do you want to feel? What's drawing you to make this change? Imagine it playing out how you want it to and just be with the emotions that come up as you think about it. If you're feeling a sense of peace/calm/happiness come upon you, this is a sign that making this change will likely benefit your life, even if you don't have all the details planned out for what it may look like to do it. Your emotional experience might even give you some guidance on what the next steps may look like. Just start with the baby steps of what would be needed to make this change happen and notice if that feeling stays with you along the way. If it does, trust it. And keep going.

There may not be a "right" time for most things in life but that doesn't mean to hold back and wait forever. Believe that you have ability to make your life into what you most want it to be. That can start today. After all, what are you really waiting for?

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