When I was in college, my friends gave me a nickname - Speedy.
I was not into sport cars, Formula One races or any motoring activities for that matter. In fact, I did not drive until I received my master's degree. But when it came to achieving my set of goals, I was on top of that race.
If I was assigned a project with a deadline one month away, I would be in the college's library that night researching it. When I decided to build a new dressing room, interior designers were measuring my room two hours later.
Not delaying any task often frightened my friends, who thought I should slow down. So you can imagine how much it bothers me when I hear my friends describe a personal set of situations that need to occur before they can move on to the next chapter in their lives.
"Once I get married, then I'll go to Haj." "Once I stop mourning my grandmother's death, then I will quit smoking." "Once I get married and have children, then I will write my novel."
What I hear are made-up excuses to procrastinate. They are just creating obstacles that do not exist, pointing their finger to an outside force that they will never be able to control, and choosing to let the days of waiting turn into years. What is even worse is one of my close friends who connects her perceived obstacles with her living situation, thus creating a trap that she will never escape, and thus never actually pursuing her dreams. "I can't start my business unless I leave my job, but how will I live without a steady income?" she says.
Then there are those classic others who complain about everything in life, and create obstacles from almost anything, even if it is not related to their dreams. They just rant about anything that causes them stress, but do nothing to stop it or fix their problems. They become so emotionally drained that they run towards the nearest exit and simply give up.
If I have learnt an important lesson about pursuing my dreams, it is that it is useless to wait for that "perfect time" to take that next step. Perfect timing does not exist. It is mythical.
It all hit me at the end of 2009, when I was writing my new year's resolutions. Ever since I graduated from university, in September of that same year, I had been thinking about the perfect time to start designing my fashion line, or to approach publishers with my writing samples. But as I was pencilling down my dreams that cold December night, I realised that if I postponed these goals for another year I would be creating more barriers that would delay me even further from achieving them.
There will never be a perfect time to leave the job you hate. There will never be a perfect time to marry the one you love. There will never be a perfect time to talk to your colleague about his irritating behavior.
The reason is that no matter when you decide to make these choices, there will always be a risk involved, and it is because of that risk that people put off these choices to another day.
What my friends often fail to realise is that they are not just waiting, they are stagnating. Just like a plant that is not watered, they stop growing and become dull, and their passion and talent often wither and die.
If you want to create change in your life, then stop waiting for the perfect time. Let go of your obstacles and fears. Once you have, you will regret not starting sooner.
Manar Al Hinai, an Emirati, is a fashion designer and writer based in Abu Dhabi. She was recently named an Arab Woman of the Year