The Joy of Long Term Goals

Several years ago I was talking to my Pastor. We were talking about education and I was bemoaning the fact that I wasn’t going to be able to get a college degree. I had married young and had children. I was running a very successful business, I had an active family and social life. “With everything I have going on I could only take a class or two a year.” I said to him. “It would take me 10 years just to get my AA (2 year) degree!

“That is true” he answered,”But ten years are going to go by no matter what. And in 10 years either you will have that college degree or you won’t”.

Well, it only took 6 years, but last night I took my last final and I have now completed all the requirements for an AA degree in Accounting, and an AA in Business Administration!

Why is it, that people, including myself, think that just because something will take a long time, it isn’t worth doing? I do a lot of financial counseling with people and they are always saying things like, “I have so much credit card debt, it will take years to pay off, so why even try?” Or conversely, “It would take forever to save up the money for that vacation, so I’ll just put it on the credit card.” By thinking this way people find themselves 5, 10, 20 years later in the same spot they are now AND, they are missing out on the joy of delayed gratification.

Yes, I said the JOY of delayed gratification. Today everybody seems to want everything right now, and they are willing to take on outstanding amounts of debt to do that. So once the fun of the impulse purchase is over, all you are left with is the stress of trying to pay the debt.

For our 25th wedding anniversary (no I’m not that old, I told you I married young!) my husband and I wanted to take a fabulous vacation. First class all the way. We could have used the credit cards, or taken out a loan to pay for the vacation, after all, we deserved it! Staying together for 25 years isn’t easy! But instead we decided to save up for our vacation.

For 2 years I planned and saved and saved an planned. I had a great time researching where we would go and what we would do. It was exciting to see our savings grow. And it was easy to bypass all those little extras, so the money could go towards our vacation. I had a great time planning the vacation. In some ways, the anticipation was more fun than the actual trip itself!

While I was researching, planning and saving for our vacation, my husband was doing the same for a great camera to take with us. We ended up with a great deal on a fabulous camera.

In the end we spent 2 marvelous weeks in Belize. A country I didn’t even know existed before I started my research. And the best part is, when we came home there were no bills to pay. I don’t even have any credit card bills to remind me of my vacation, all I have are some wonderful photos!

So the next time you think you aren’t going to do something because it will take too long, just remember, the time is going to go by anyway! 10 years from now will you still be bemoaning the fact that you don’t have a college degree, or your credit cards paid off or…?

5 thoughts on “The Joy of Long Term Goals”

  1. Don’t you wish you could understand this at the start of your goals? You’ve done well to look back and see you made the right decision.

    In my life, one of my guiding themes was “Go For It!” If you want something and it seems like you’d never get it, go for it anyway. It can’t be a wimpy Go For It. You need to put your energies behind the goal and get it.

    That also means that your goal needs to be worth the effort.

    Is that enough of a lecture?


    Marilynne’s last blog post..On being Eighteen

  2. Congrats !
    Yes, time wait for no man ! And it flies fast before you even know it.
    When there is a will, there is a way. I was born with my physical defects and I always take twice effort to accomplish what others do but at the end of the day, I still make it.
    At times, the process can seem very painful and dreadful and you often wonder when is that going to last, or why I taken on such a task but then at the end of the tunnel, you see bright light and you know it is all worth it :).
    I too walk down the graduation hall last week. This is my 3rd degrees :).

    jamy’s last blog post..Bad time for consumers, good time for prisoners !

  3. Congrats on the degree. With the instant gratification culture that we live in today, it is easy forget that things that take a while to achieve are the one of the most meaning moments personally. My husband and I save for our vacations as well. My friends tend to go and deal with the bills later. Personally, I think we have more fun because we go without worrying about paying for it after we get back.

  4. @Marilynne: I love your lectures Mom! xo

    @jamy: Congratulations on 3 degrees and for sticking with it! Sometimes the hardest things are the most gratifying!

    @asithi: It has been 3 years since we went to Belize and we still pat ourselves on the back because we didn’t have to deal with the bills when we got home!

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