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It Is Always Time for You to Act

December 12, 2014

“If not now, when? If not us, who?”

Those were Faith Bandler’s words at the Talkin’ up Reconcilation Convention at Wollongong in August 1999. I was scarcely 3 years old at the time, and I wasn’t present at the speech. Yet those words strike me powerfully today. Because they are true.

Bandler was talking about reconciliation and land rights. But in truth, her words extend far further to our own lives. If we don’t start saving for our future now, when will we? If we won’t lift a finger to do volunteer work, who will?

It is so easy to say that you want something. You want to catch up with friends. There is your goal. But what are you going to do about it? Are you going to invite your friends over? No? You’re going to wait for them? What if they have the same attitude? Okay, you’re going to do something… when?

One thing I didn’t mention earlier was that I studied Bandler’s speech as party of my English studies. And of course, I could tell you that that quoted line was the peroration – the ending – to Bandler’s speech. I could also tell you that the series of questions were framed as a quaesitio for rhetorical effect. But, if I wanted to get a good mark, I’d tell you the effect of all this, and the effect of the rhetorical device was to heighten the impact of Bandler’s words. That is, Bandler’s rhetorical questions force us to try and come up with an answer. When will we start? Who will start?

I mentioned friends earlier. In my post-HSC weeks of work and also ‘freedom’, many have wanted to get together. But few have organised events. Few have done the work themselves to make meet-ups happen. Or… at least so far as I am aware. I am attempting to buck this trend. I want something – to see friends – and I know that I cannot simply be entitled to having others do the work for me. So, I have organised many events, with more in the works. Simply put, I have acted.

Some will say that they are waiting for the right moment, or that they priorities. And yes, priorities matter… sometimes. But it is also true that the right moment will never come. That you should seize the day. That you should just do what set out to do. That you are not entitled to be helped. That you must take the hard road to travel far. That to get what you want, requires effort.

And this is not just about responsibility or ‘growing up’, but living well. Living well means living intentionally – with purpose. Instead of drifting along, reacting to events, and never any progress on your own goals, you need to plan, and steer the ship of your life to the shores you want to reach. You can’t get where you want without knowing it exists! But it is also true that you can’t get where you want without action. So, to get where you want, or where society wants, know this:

It is always time for you to act.

The right moment will never come. Yet there is not one moment to be wasted. Help society, or help yourself lead the life you desire. Act. Now.

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