Timing is everything. This axiom sounds about right. We cannot catch a fish when the fish are absent. We cannot board a plane that has already departed. And we cannot order breakfast after the clock tells us that now is inexplicably reserved for lunch food. Still, is the sweeping truism worthy of strict adherence? Or is it better if we observe it only as a general guide? Sure, scheduling is important but so are preparation, opportunity and ability.
It is comforting to boil down the complexities of modern life into a few simple phrases, and it is better to live by some rules than none. But what do we overlook when we apply all that comes our way through the filter of an orthodoxy that would fit on a bumper sticker? Do we really believe it to be so straightforward, or are we just a bit lazy? When is the right “timing” to get a job, get married, start a family, go to college, or begin an exercise regimen? No doubt, there are some moments that are less convenient, maybe even life altering. Many would delay awaiting a perfect instant that never arrives, leaving an open door for regret to take up residence.
An expert gardener was asked, when is the ideal point to prune the plantings? He pondered for a few moments and asked the inquirer if they had a sharp knife. If so, he suggested, now is the time. In an unkept lawn, an imperfect action carries more value than no action whatsoever. He may have had a point. Yet, imprudence flows from the reckless assumption of duty. If we decide to move forward despite inopportune timing, we must acknowledge the increased risk and dedicate ourselves to overcoming. It might be the best decision of our lives.