Friday morning I reached my doctor’s office with a ball full of prickly nerves rolling around my stomach. My thoughts were saturated in a sea of dread because I knew that I had needed to do this for at least a year, and somehow, I had never set the appointment. I had procrastinated—whether consciously or not—and did not take the time to address something that I knew was not right. Life over the last year between writing, getting married, making a home, working, paying off debt, honeymooning, etc. had somehow gotten in the way of me looking after my most important asset of all: my health. And I let it happen.
I sat down on the sterile dentist-like chair, my skin pale and unfamiliar under the probing light. Over the next hour and a half while a doctor and nurse came in and out of the room, all I could think about was, “what had been so important that I didn’t take the time to do this months ago?” Fortunately for me, this issue is not life threatening, though it can become quite serious. It’s one of those medical issues that is not a problem until you decide to finally address it, and by that time your procrastination or ignorance of the situation has made it into a much bigger problem than it should have been.
Events in our lives can be summed up in two categories: those we cannot control, and those that we have some control over. When bad things happen that are out of our control like the tsunami in Japan, we may shake our heads in discouragement, feel unlucky, or wonder “why me”. However, when bad things happen as a result of us not taking care of something within our control and the situation is exacerbated by our inaction, the feeling is of incredible loss: loss of opportunity and time to be proactive and total loss of control of the outcome.
Everyone has health problems and most of them cannot be helped. Yet we’ve all heard that the earlier you catch something, the greater the chances are of a (hopefully) painless and speedy recovery. The same holds true with finances; the earlier you save, the more you will have later and the less painful it will be to obtain your saving goal. The more proactive you are in paying down your debt, the less interest you will be penalized. There are also consequences far greater than poor finances that can result in your inaction. You may just meet the love of your life several years from now and have nothing to start a life with him or her except an empty bank account. You may wait too long to purchase that insurance until the day comes when it is too late and you are left to deal with the havoc. What about the day you wake up and realize that you are nearing retirement and you have not earmarked nearly enough money to live on over the next several decades of your life?
Take the time today to address one thing that you have been procrastinating about—a doctor’s appointment, opening up a retirement account, insuring a vital part of your life, etc. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.