“Best by” dates

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Pursue your ideas, realize your dreams, be a go-getter! Don’t create constraining “deadlines” or windows of opportunity that remain windows.

What’s the importance of “best by” dates?

Talking to a young woman the other day, she said “… I want to do this before my best by date …”. You’ve guessed correctly, she was referring to having children — something many young people think about as they go about setting wedding dates or target dates by which to have children.

Hmmm… “best by” date? That piqued my interest.

Rummaging through my bathroom cabinets recently, I was shocked to find a hundred things there. Pre-pandemic, I blindly sorted through everything to find the elusive item I needed, then hurriedly moved on to the next task of the day. That was then.

Now, when days are moving like molasses, I’ve got time on my hands and am noticing things more. Let me tell you, those cabinets looked frightful! I’d always prided myself on being organized. So what were these overstuffed cabinets doing in my house? How did I let that happen and never notice it before?

Staring in dismay, I saw old shampoo bottles, bandaids, long-forgotten soap dishes, an assortment of nail files, multiple dental floss containers, four tubes of Polysporin (why were four tubes needed?), dried up nail polish and lipsticks, all sorts of hairbrushes, a variety of odd buttons, cotton balls from the 1990s, enough toothbrushes for a small country, a stack of airline first-class pouches from long-forgotten travels, filled with combs, mirrors and socks. Worse, I found an unopened pack of horribly expensive probiotics… which expired in 2019. Maddening!

Now, the all-informing online source of debatable information assured me that many non-edible products are okay to use well beyond their best by dates. Apparently much of the original effectiveness remains a couple of years past the expiration date. Somewhat comforting? Nope! Reluctant to take a chance, off it all went into the trash.

It sure got me thinking, though. Do “best by dates” apply only to starting families or when purging expired stuff? It could apply to new ideas, market conditions, interest rates, starting a new career, leaping into leadership roles, and all sorts of things. Sometimes we feel that if we don’t “nip it in the bud”, then the crucial date has gone by and there’s no point in pursuing it. Sure, that could apply to many things.

But maybe the (internet) assurance could be extended to other situations. You may think you’re close to or past your best by date for all sorts of reasons and situations. There’s comfort in knowing that your skills will still be your skills long past that date. So don’t be put off by perceived timelines. Keep striving for whatever you’re aspiring to.

I know I will!

Feel like you or your hopes are past their best by date? Opportunities are passing you by? Write to bernadette@gogettercoaching.com — I’d love to hear from you!

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