How's life? Hopefully pretty great; probably pretty busy, right?
The beginning thoughts of this blog post have been twirling around in my head for couple of weeks, and I'm just now writing them down... so here we go.
"Be happy with what you have while working for what you want." -Unknown
That's been one of my favorite quotes for a while now. Short and sweet; easy to remember. Harder to live by.
I'm graduating high school this Spring. Surprisingly enough, I have a pretty clear idea of what I want to do with my life from here on out. Not all of the details and "when's"/"how's" are ironed out, of course; I can never pretend to know exactly what's going to happen... even so, I know the general direction I want to take towards the goals I want to achieve. I'm enthusiastic about life; I'm looking forward to finishing college and getting a degree and I'm excited for life after that: moving out and living independently, starting my own business, getting married, having kids, etc., etc., etc.
All of that is awesome and wonderful; I am looking forward to it, and I cannot wait.
However, I am currently "stuck" here. I'm in high school/dual-enrolled in college. I spend most of my time going to classes, doing homework, and trying to figure out a job. It easily becomes monotonous and dull; it feels like the things I am forced to accomplish in my everyday life are keeping me from my goals. In reality, of course, I actually am getting myself closer to my goals... teensy tiny almost-imperceptible step by teensy tiny almost-imperceptible step. You can't accomplish goals overnight.
But it is heckin' annoyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyying. (Almost as annoying as when I use an obnoxious amount of "y's".)
It is so easy to get carried away looking towards your next big "milestone". It gives you tunnel vision, and suddenly the things you're currently doing in your everyday life are nothing more than steps you have to take and blanks you have to fill- hindrances, if you will. You have a goal in mind, something you're working towards, and it isn't happening right now.
And it is aggravating! It's frustrating and discouraging! It makes you want to put your fist through a wall!
But you can't live only for "big" goals. You have to learn to embrace the smaller goals, the tiny victories, the everyday triumphs. It's okay to be happy, excited, or proud of yourself for the smallest of reasons. You have to focus on whatever you're doing right here, right now.
If you've got to organize your desk, make that your life's mission for fifteen minutes. If you're with friends, being with friends is what is most important right now. If you're making a cup of tea, focus on that for three minutes and make it the best freaking cup of tea in the world. Having goals for the future and being motivated to get yourself to those goals is awesome (and important), but it can easily take away from the life that you're living right here, right now.
Finding the balance between planning for the future and enjoying the present is hard; I cannot for one second claim to have found it. However, as I continually try to be better about this, I find that it really does help to actively think "Okay, this is what I am doing right this second, so I will focus on that for right now". It seems a little silly at first (petting the cat is the center of my universe for the next five minutes? Okay...) but honestly, it helps slow you down when you're feeling the urge to fast-forward your life and jump into the future.
Another thing to remember is that you are always going to have certain things that are "far ahead" of you. Once you accomplish one goal, there will be another one looming. You're (probably) never going to accomplish every single goal you've ever set for yourself, because as you're succeeding and crossing things off of your list, you're simultaneously adding more items to it. And that's life.
I also have to constantly remind myself that life is never going to be exactly like this again; enjoying the present while working towards the future is very important.
Another note: You can feel this way even if your life is good right now; even when seems nearly perfect, human nature stills says, "But what about this? We need that. What we want is ahead of us."
No matter how frustrated I might get on a really boring Tuesday afternoon, my life really is great right now. I'm incredibly blessed with an awesome family, amazing friends, and fantastic opportunities. I'm happy where I am, but I still have to remind myself constantly to slow my mind down, breathe, and focus on/be grateful for today.
A great Bible verse that is related to this topic is Matthew 6:34:
"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
Another of my favorite verses is Psalm 37:3-4; this one is a good reminder about contentment:
"Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pleasure. Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart."
This was a rant that was maybe meant to be somewhat helpful...? Either way, I hope some of you are encouraged by this. If there are ways you fight the urge to "fast forward" or keep yourself motivated each day, please do let me know in the comments. What are some areas of life you find yourself stressing over and trying to rush?
Thanks for reading, friends. Stay cheerful and grateful.