We spend all our time and energy looking forward to some time when everything will be perfect or better. We say to ourselves if we can just get through this its going to get better down the road. Then we’ll have happiness. Then we’ll have some of our life perfectly sorted out and will finally have it all together. But this mindset doesn’t actually work. It’s a continuous cycle that never ends.
Instead of trying to find a better time, instead of trying to look forward to something that will never be achieved, we need to learn how to find joy in our present circumstances. While statistically speaking, if your life sucks it will probably get better. There will probably be a time when your life is going better than it is right now. However, how can we really bet on that if we keep going this way? We’re just going to spend all of our lives unhappy and looking forward to something which will never actually be achieved.
This cycle of saying it will get better when this happens or we are like that perpetuates the image of the worlds success and its standards for what is right. But we shouldn’t really be measuring ourselves by society’s standards. That’s a long road of emptiness. How many times have we looked forward to something – a relationship, a job, a new outfit- or whatever, only to have those fleeing moments of happiness disappear as quickly as they came. And yet everything around us promised that would be it, that would finally seal the deal (successful marketing). For a long time I was caught up in this cycle. The way I got through hard times was to tell myself that if I just held on and gritted my teeth, I’d be okay, and it would be better soon.
This is no way to live.
There will always be bad and good in our lives. True joy comes when you realize this and learn to make peace with the now. Don’t ground your identity in your job, wealth, or how many pull ups you can do. If you do and those things are taken away, what do you have left? Its so freeing to let go of these things. Another wonderful side effect is you’ll be less judgmental. You’ll start to see the good in other people and be able to celebrate it, because they won’t be in your way. Your mind won’t have to tear them down to maintain your status.
Living like this is not an easy journey. Its a process. The pessimist in me makes me fight everyday to appreciate the good in my life and the good in others. Bad news will send me into a tailspin before I finally slow down and can gather my thoughts. But I’m learning slowly and taking it day by day.
As always, the Office strikes me with one liners that make me stop and think.
This particular one got me hard. Probably because I refuse to admit that the Office is over (its been years and I’m still in denial), but I had to pause when Andy said this. At the time, it rang so true for me. But when I look back now, I can say that if you are truly enjoying life in the now instead of looking ahead or back, every day will be a good ol’ day.
Oh, and if you wanna find out how I’ve learned to have peace in the now, drop me a line, I’d be more than happy to share. Shout out to the man, Matt Chandler, for blowing my mind and challenging me constantly.