Delayed Gratification, Time Bombs, and Intense Remorse

In Random Musings by EudaimoniaLeave a Comment

Right now I should be putting together a talk and preparing for a job interview I’m being flown out to New Jersey for this Friday. A job that by all accounts would put me well into a world of financial stability and would set me up securely for the rest of my life (hello!).

A job that by all accounts is a “serious” and “professional” job. A job that signifies moving on from one phase of my life to another new chapter.  In all honesty – a job I can enjoy, succeed at, and am most qualified for.

In order for me to get this job I need to interview with up to 6 people and give a 30-minute seminar on an oncology topic of my liking. But, in order for me to give the seminar…I found myself retrieving some old figures from my dissertation.

I opened up a time bomb!

Well to be exact – I turned on a computer that I have not turned on in over 6 years, and during those 6 years a lot of shit has happened in my life.

I lost a love. I gained a love. I lost a love. I gained a love. I was granted my PhD, and I completed my postdoctoral fellowship.

I also seemed to have lost some hair and gained some weight.

Here is where I find myself in a state of intense remorse.

In turning on that computer I was brought back to a time, 6 years ago – which seems like yesterday – wherein I had all the promise and prospects in the world.

I was a good looking guy, well traveled, smart, and had a love in my life that treated me well. I thought I was set.

Fast forward six years later, (remove myself from the time-bomb) and I find myself living in the same arrangements, driving the same car, and I even have the same dog.

He by the way is the only constant living being in my life throughout the last six years (besides my family and select friends).

Not unlike the files stuck on that computer…my life situation has been fairly static. But…unlike my life situation I’ve changed, I look at all of the hair I once had, I look at how much thinner I once was, and I look at the happiness in my eyes.

Youth, it’s moved on from me. Most people would say that they moved on from youth, but I have to think it moved on from me (well at least by looking at the time-bomb).

I’m sad that I haven’t fully lived my life. The remorse flooding into my heart has little to do with the loss of past relationships, but more to do with the loss of opportunity.

Opportunity. Apparently, I never heard it knocking.

If you’re a younger person in your early to mid twenties, I urge you to do everything you ever dreamt and do it today, fuck tomorrow.

Or else, one day soon – much sooner than you might think – you’ll turn on an old computer to dig up some worthless PDFs on the minutiae of liver cancers (certainly I admit this could be case specific…you might be looking up the minutiae of something a hell of a lot more exciting).

You’ll open up a time bomb of your own making…and you’ll realize what I’m talking about.  You’ll realize you’re moving on.  You’ll realize your youth has left you and the only way forward is to use collateral you’ve built by delaying gratification and living by the mantra “If I do this for the next 4-5 years, then I’ll be happy”.

You've got to be part robot to enjoy setting up these every day.

You’ve got to be part robot to enjoy setting up these every day.

I suppose, if all goes well this week – I may find myself incredibly happy in the next phase of my life. I may find that delayed gratification was worth it. I may feel a little sense of vindication for all those hours I spent needlessly pipetting small amounts of liquid into 96 well plates.

But I will tell you this, no matter the outcome of this week’s interview…I am absolutely certain that I will still believe I wasted my youth, and I will certainly wish I weighed less, had more hair, and was as charming as I was 6 years ago.

Life marches on whether you like it or not…do what you want with your life right now. Don’t wait.

Wish me luck on my interview…I really want this job, and a little vindication as well. =)