When Was The Last Time You Did Something For Yourself?

Istanbul and Seagull by Azem Alptekin
Istanbul and Seagull by Azem Alptekin


That’s today’s question.

The big and not-so-easy-to-answer-question.

It may sound like a vague question but it is not. It’s the opposite of vague. Let me say what I mean when I ask “When was the last time you did for yourself?”.

Actually, I believe if I say what I did not mean, you’ll have a more clear picture in your mind’s window.

Eating, going out with friends, shopping, having fun etc. do not count. They are regular stuff we do almost every day of our lives. The basics of life. We are not so basic, ourselves.

  • Reading a book you wanted to read for a long time,
  • Try to learn something you always wanted to learn,
  • Improving a part of yourself such as learning to use your not-so-strong-side like if you are a right-hand person, trying to learn to use your left hand just as good as your right hand,
  • Pursuing your hobbies like a real thing,
  • Finding what you are passionate about and going for it…

These are some examples of what you may want to do but don’t do.

When we are kids, especially just before being a teenager, we, I believe, are our most passionate versions. When we want something, we do nothing else, but pursue to get it. And we get it or we manage to do it. When we grow older, we lose that side of us.

Think about animals. All the animals. They are born and then almost immediately start passionately trying to survive.

They eat.

They reproduce.

They die.

Istanbul and Seagull by Azem Alptekin

Istanbul and Seagull by Azem Alptekin

As simple as that. We, humans, we are different. We think. We, not only think but also can self-actualise. We can judge. We can reason and depending on our previous learnings we can deduct. We work, earn and spend. We do a lot more than the most intelligent animals. So, are we doing all those? I am not sure the answer is yes for everybody.

Life is really short. Many people claim that a 24-hour day is not enough. They may also be right. However, I don’t think it is. Even if the days were longer, like 30 or 40 hours long, they would still not be satistifed. Because that 30-hour day would still not suffice. What really matters, though, is how we spend those 24 hours. Not just each hour of it but also each minute of it.

A friend of mine told me that she loved travelling and learning and teaching. So, she designed her life as a traveller trainer. She goes around the world and delivers trainings. The life she wanted all along. When people hear about her, they envy her and think that she was lucky. You may also think that way. Just go back to the second sentence of this paragraph: “So, she designed her as a traveller trainer”. She wanted and she designed her life accordingly. So simple as that.

At a Toastmasters meeting, I heard a guy delivering an impromptu speech. He was getting ready to go to the UK for a language course. His dream of going abroad was coming true. During the time he waited, he attended some job interviews and from one he got an offer to start right away. He thought of working for a couple of months, earning some money and then go to the UK for his dream. However, he never did it. Instead, he stayed in Turkey, worked for the same company for 18 years. He got married and had 2 children during this time. In the end, he regretted his decision of not going to the language school all those years ago. He tried to do it afterwards, within those 18 years, but something always came up and he couldn’t do it. And 18 years passed just like a wind.

Toastmasters Logo. Image by Toastmasters.org website.

On another occasion, I was talking to a friend of mine. She was living at an apartment in a good neighbourhood in Istanbul, earning well for a single person and had a good life. However, she always wanted to live abroad. When she told me, I told her this:

  • You have two routes to take:
    • If you go now, it may be good or bad. You never know. However in the future, you’ll not think of yourself and say that you wished you’d done it. If you go and don’t like living there, you can always come back to your city. It’ll not be the same, but still.
    • If you don’t go, you’ll keep living in here and your life will, most probably, not change dramatically. You’ll get married and have children. 10 years from now, you will think of your life and will wonder what would have happened if you’d gone 10 years ago. So, choose yourself.

She went to Australia and is still there for over 4 years now. She had her hardships for the first two years. She struggled a lot, spent a lot. However, she’s happy and content now, since she realised her dream.

I remember the time I was at high school. Looks like a millenia ago. However, what I planned for myself back then, came to life. Not all though. But still. I did a lot. As for coming to the UK. Taking a big big risk. Using all my life savings to move to here was not an easy decision. I still don’t know how it’ll be. I just know one thing: In the future, I’ll not tell myself that I should have done this.

We always prefer the easier solutions, easier paths. That is how our brains work. At least, most of us do. This keeps us safe and in our comfort zones. Life, though, is a lot more than what’s waiting in our comfort zones. The real action usually takes place outside this zone. It’s the same for me. I love my comfort zone. From time to time, I go out to check what’s going on. Like trying to do something. Several years ago, I started this website for instance. One of the best decisions I took. I wish I had done it earlier. Starting dancing at my first year at university was also another one. It opened a different world when I was living in Dubai. We usually try to foresee what’ll happen if we did that. We forget the fact that we cannot predict the future. We are not Nostradamus. Just like Steve Jobs said, you cannot connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards. That’s the only way it works.

So, if you are waiting for the right time to do something, just do it. Now is a good time as any. You may not have time do to it in the future. Or not the courage to do so. Nobody knows what will happen the next moment. What we have is just NOW.

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2 Responses

  1. Ahmet says:

    That is nice writing and sharing this experince for our. Thanks a lot.

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