When I was living in London years ago, I was there on a tourist visa. In six months I knew I would have to leave the country.
Considering the grilling I got at immigration to get in, I doubted I would be able to come back after six months. My boyfriend however had a British passport, so he was able to stay indefinitely.
From the day I arrived, I felt like I was running out of time.
To be brutally honest, it didn’t bring out the best in me. I became obsessed with running out of time.
Is there something that you are currently doing that you know has an end date? Does it feel like you only have a limited time to achieve something?
There can be a multitude of situations that have you feeling like you are running out of or against time.
London taught me some very tough lessons. Here are my tips on what to do if you feel you are running out of time?
Have a solid plan complete with timelines and targets
When I went to London I had no plan other than to be with my boyfriend whom I loved dearly. Yes, it was a very romantic gesture. In hindsight however, a completely unrealistic one.
Now I focus on having a solid plan to get what I want. I have goals to achieve and timelines in which to achieve them.
Related post – How to Stick to Your Plan
Be able to stand on your own two feet
Due to my age, I couldn’t legally work in London. While that may sound great to some, one big long holiday you might think but holidays without money are not a whole lot of fun and London is an expensive city.
I have always been an extremely independent person. I’ve been supporting myself financially for a very long time. Asking someone else for money was a foreign concept to me. Frankly I hated it. I also hated the feeling that I couldn’t contribute financially to the household. Sadly my sense of self-worth suffered.
Over the years when I have taken time out for my writing, I have ensured I can support myself financially. While my social life might take a nosedive due to lack of funds, that’s okay. I prepared myself for the outcome of having less money.
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If you are going to throw yourself off the deep end – have a net handy
When I went to London I left behind an established life: my rented unit, friends and family, all of my belongings.
Due to a problem with my luggage I didn’t even have my own clothes in London. I had to borrow clothes from a friend who was two sizes bigger than me.
I understand Australians living in London is a common occurrence. Generally speaking though Australians living in London goes hand in hand with working, socializing with friends and travelling.
Without realizing I had put myself in a situation with very little support for when things got tough.
I had no safety net whatsoever.
While I have certainly moved myself out of my comfort zone to pursue my writing over the years and put myself in situations where time was a big factor (taking six months leave without pay for instance), I still had the support of family and friends. I had a roof over my head and a place to call home. Some sense of security no matter how small is important when you do something extremely challenging.
On a very personal note if you are going to move to the other side of the world for a person make sure you relationship is on a solid footing. Rock solid would be preferable. Make sure you want the same things out of life and share the same values. Make sure you are compatible.
It’s true that travelling together can either make or break a relationship. After travelling through Asia for a month together on a dirt cheap budget, my partner and I were already feeling the strain. This didn’t put us in a good position for what was coming once we arrived in London completely broke.
Related post – Are You Risk Adverse or a Risk Taker?
Don’t live by someone else’s plan
Does the family keep asking you when you are getting married? Having kids? (Two of the most common ways people feel they are running out of time). Getting a better job? Retiring?
Having dreams and goals is one thing, as long as they are in fact YOUR goals and dreams. Don’t try to live your life according to anyone else’s plan.
Ultimately it is you that has to be happy, so making a life changing decision to satisfy someone else’s agenda won’t make you happy. Most likely you will feel like you are wasting your time. You have to want and be committed to your own goals.
Perhaps you are the one applying the pressure to yourself? Do you find yourself thinking I HAVE to get married (substitute whatever event applies to you) before I am 30?
Related post – Don’t Let Anyone Else Define Your Worth
Focus on the things within your control
Let’s use the getting married by 30 example above. What if you haven’t met Mr or Ms Right by that time? What then?
You make sure the other aspects of your life are full of joy and achievement. You focus on your other life goals. You have fun and do things that make you happy. You focus on the things within your control.
It seems basic enough advice, yet so many people focus on what they don’t have instead of what they do. I did exactly that while I was in London, focusing on the negative instead of the positive.
Be prepared to be flexible in your approach. You may need to make some compromises along the way, just make sure they are compromises you can live with.
Related post – Are You in Control of Your Life?
Look for the silver lining
The silver lining for me is London was when the whole writing journey opened up for me.
It still took a while before I fully embraced what direction I wanted my life to go, but it was where the seed was planted. While that time was extremely hard and heartbreaking, it led me to where I am now, which I am grateful for.
Always look for your silver lining.
Related post – Look for the Beauty in Life
Relax and enjoy the time you DO have
I remember talking to my brother on the phone one day when I was overseas. I was feeling miserable and lonely. He said to me, “Look out the window. See the big red bus – you are in LONDON!”
Unfortunately at the time, his message did not sink in.
The irony is I was so worried about leaving in six months, I did irreparable damage to the relationship (just for the record my partner did a size-able chunk of damage as well) and I found myself back in Australia heartbroken after 5 months.
I didn’t even make it to the six months deadline I had been so terrified of!
Thankfully I have learnt from my mistakes. Over the years, I have faced a variety of situations that have involved set time frames and the feeling of the clock ticking.
As I write this I am on a 10 week temping assignment, with no idea what comes next work wise. I definitely have a plan but no guarantee things will go to plan. All I can do is run with the time I do have.
Related post – 12 Thought-Provoking Time Quotes
This post relates to one of my favorite quotes by Michael Althsuler.
The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.’
Be the pilot! Stop stressing about running out of time and use the time you have wisely.
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