Many people speak of happiness as if it is a destination. They think, I'll be happy when....only the "when" never actually materializes because something else always seems to take its place. (Kind of like everyone thinking that when their kids grow up and don't need day care anymore there will be extra money to landscape the yard, or get a new car or...."whatever", and all the parents out there know that doesn't actually happen.) The money just goes to other "stuff" kids require, like piano lessons, karate memberships, sports equipment, clothes, shoes, phones, etc.
In the past I have been guilty of that kind of future thinking. The "I will feel so much more organized when I do this, or when I am finally finished with this committee I will be able to start on that." Only the time never actually arrives, there are always more commitments, more things on the to do list, more distractions. And suddenly you wake up one day and you realize that years went by and you don't remember them. Who knew that what I was really doing was wishing away my happiness in the present, for a future time when I might be happy if...?
The notion that I will find happiness "someday" if I just do this, turned out to be a crock for me, a white lie I told myself to feel better, to motivate me and to push me forward. The truth is, I should have just been proud of the things I did accomplish, (without the if onlys added onto them) and let myself be open to enjoying the moment. I should have added some spontaneity.
I wish now for a ton of time back, do overs, to when my boys were little, when my body was able to do more and recover faster, when I could remember things. I want the chance to do it better. I could have spent that time making the most excellent memories with my boys, before they grew into men and no longer wanted time with me, instead of doing all those things that made me feel like I was of value by the amount that I accomplished. Or how clean my house was.
Question of the Week #30: Are You Accomplishing Your Life Away?
In the end, what did I really do anyway, except have a clean house-- that no one even remembers? Myself included. (And the truth is they got messed up the next day anyway!)
I still lie to myself. I still think if I got that new computer, I could begin to write the book I feel driven to write. I could start fresh and keep it all organized. If I cleaned the piles of papers and unearthed the hundreds of previously started posts I have on my notepads, I could fill my blog with additional, engaging content.
Even after all my research on happiness and purpose, meaning and fulfillment, I wonder why I still feel the need to have so many things on the back burner --- to get started on someday, instead of just doing what I want to do? Why is it so dang hard for me to just be?
It just is.
As I work to slow my life down, I do feel more happiness. There are shining moments when I remember that I do not always have to accomplish. Where I just go with the flow and enjoy what is right in front of me. And those moments are beautiful things.
I want there to be more time like that, more times where I do not always have to be doing.
I am listening to the new voice in my head that tells me it is okay to linger, savor, and appreciate.
Maybe that is why I cannot seem to stop taking photos of the sunsets.