Are you waiting for something, thinking that when you reach that next step, then — then! — you can finally start living?
Or allow yourself to be happy?
Many of us struggle to live in the present moment. We spend a lot of time thinking about either the past (ruminating about things that happened or didn’t happen) or the future (worrying or anticipating things that may or may not happen). But relatively rarely are we really living our lives in the present moment, the here and now.
And one of the many things that can get in the way of our really living in the present is our goals.
Now, I have nothing against goals. Goals are great! The problem isn’t having the goals, it’s telling ourselves that we can’t… SOMETHING… until we reach them. That we can’t give ourselves a break. That we can’t be happy. That our lives won’t be complete.
Until we get promoted. Until we clean the house. Until we find the perfect partner. Until we finish school. Until we lose 10 pounds. Until we’re married. Until the kids are school-aged. Or college-aged. Until we’re retired.
The list goes on…
The problem is that X may happen. Or it may not. But even if it does, if we’re like most people, we’ll change the goal to Y. It’s a moving target. We never actually allow ourselves to arrive.
“For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way. Something to be got through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.” —Father Alfred D’Souza
Now, I mean this in the least morbid way possible, but the fact is that any one of us could get hit by a bus tomorrow. There may be nothing we can do about that. (Except, of course, look both ways before we cross the street, which we should all totally do. But it could still happen).
So let’s all make sure that we’re making every day — every moment — count.
Because even though it’s not likely to be tomorrow (and not likely to be a bus), that day will come. One day. And if we keep scooting the goal further and further off, we might wake up one day and realize that we’ve been waiting our whole lives. How sad would that be?
It’s like Alfred D’Souza said: “For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way. Something to be got through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.”
They are. And we can be working toward our goals — and seeking to overcome our obstacles — and living at the same time. Life does not need to be on hold.
What would happen if you gave yourself permission to be happy now? To feel complete now?
In no way am I trying to suggest that we give up on our goals or live only for today. No. Planning for the future is important. But we don’t have to wait to start living.
We don’t have to wait to start loving ourselves, to start giving ourselves permission to be happy, to start forgiving ourselves for our shortcomings, to start believing we are worthy of love and belonging…
To let ourselves sink in, relax, and drink up the present moment. To feel grateful for today. For this moment. Even as we also plan for the future.
So why not start today? Why not start right now? What are you waiting for?
p.s. As always, I would love to hear from you — your thoughts, reactions, or questions about this post. However, if you choose to share your thoughts below, please keep in mind that these comments are visible to anyone who visits the blog. Therefore, I would encourage you to use a pseudonym (not use your real name) to protect your own privacy. If you would like to get in touch but would prefer to contact me privately, you can do so here.