“The truth is most of us discover where we are headed when we arrive.”
There is something we are taught from a very young age that I think is a huge mistake. Its the idea that we should always, always, be looking toward to future. Think back to your youth, as early as the ripe age of 5, we’re all asked the same thing: What do you want to be when you grow up? This irrational obsession with the future doesn’t end in grade school. Or even high school. In college, students often worry about their capstone project, their final exams, their graduation day, from the first day of their very first semester. Young girls, old girls –all girls — spend forever thinking about their engagement day and their fairytale wedding. The names of their kids. The color of their home. The salary of their career. Men wonder when or if erectile dysfunction or prostate cancer will set it (since it’s unfortunately true that all ment think about is their penis). When traveling, the lesson can be found once more: Are we there yet? Everybody wants to know if or when we will arrive at our destination. The trip is written off as a hardship, or an obstacle, instead of an adventure.
Last night I was talking to one of my very best friends and she couldn’t stop worrying about her future long enough to even enjoy one single moment of the present. “He says I’m the perfect girl. We want all of the same things (yes, yes, yes!) It won’t work out. He lives there and I live here.” (no, no, no!).
And just today another great friend of mine got engaged. Instead of rejoicing in her good fortune with me, my boyfriend simply said, “Great, are you going to be mad for the rest of the day now?” Implying that since she is engaged, and I am not, I would crumble and fall apart. Contrary to his belief, I’m just fine. Do I want to be engaged? Um, do I have a vagina? (In other words, yes). But do I want it right now, simply because everybody else has it? No. I want my future to come in time.
We wonder so much about what’s to come and worry so much about what has passed that we often forget to enjoy our present. Like I told my friend, I don’t think it’s fair that we’re so quick to write ourselves off. There are a ton of things we have going for us right now. Look around. Look at the glory each day holds. Absorb the cuddly kitten, the growing child, the twinkling lights, the pouring rain, the developments inside each day. Who really knows if things will work out, or if they won’t, no matter how hard we hope they will. Today, right now, these moments… This. This is your life. As morbid as it sounds, it is the only guarantee. Those of you who continually wonder and wish for a better tomorrow, do you ever think about the opposite side of the coin? What if your life were to end before your happily ever after actually arrives? Only then might you understand the importance of enjoying every step of your journey.
As impossible as it may seem, we have to retrain ourselves, somehow, to enjoy the things that we have when we actually have them, instead of continually (and obsessively) wondering when we’ll get the things we think we deserve.
I mean, if we’re always looking down the road, we’re bound to miss what’s right outside the window, don’t you think?