For some of us type-A folks, it can be frustrating going through life facing uncertainties and unknowns. Give us tangible results! We want to hold, touch and feel the fruits of our labor. We want to see the dividends of our hard work translated into real life. My philosophy to date has always been: determine what you want in life, then work your ass off for it. Thankfully, there have been few instances where I couldn’t work hard, stay resolute, and achieve what I set my mind to. For me, the sense of accomplishment is one of the most gratifying feelings in the world.
But what about the occasions in which life doesn’t respond to “hard work” and steadfast determination? Sometimes, despite all the effort and desire, life flips you the bird and says, “Oh, you think you have it all planned out? Watch this!”
It’s in those moments where we should remind ourselves to take a deep breath and trust the process. We don’t know what the destination looks like, and we’ve already lived through the past, so in reality – we’re faced with one option. Enjoy the journey.
Often enough, we are all guilty of romanticizing the past. Remembering on the things we want to, or even worse, remembering things better than they actually were. I recently read a great article from Tiny Buddha authored by Erin Lanahan that talks about living in the now – and Erin goes on to say “Freedom is where my feet are.” What an interesting concept – illustrating that our freedom lies within living in the present moment. Not allowing ourselves to long for things that never actually were, or living in fear of a future that hasn’t occurred yet.
I think it’s all the little things – a phone call from a loved one, fresh flowers on your dining room table, kisses and tail wags from your pup, a great run on a sunny afternoon, a strong cup of coffee on a rainy Sunday morning, a kiss from someone who means something to you – that make up the bigger picture. All the simple pleasures in day-to-day life that we often rush by on our quest to be productive, to accomplish our goals and achieve milestones.
The underlying lesson in enjoying the small things hidden in our daily lives (for me, at least) has been learning to be patient. It doesn’t come naturally and each day I have to make a conscious effort to tell myself to slow down. Partial blame can be placed on the society in which we live – the age of instant gratification, the concept of maximizing efficiencies, and granting continuous access (to each other, to technology, to our jobs, etc.). Think about it. We’re all encouraged to do more with less, to be productive and proactive, and to take full advantage of every minute, of every hour, in every day. It’s like trying to cram 10 pounds of shit in a 5 pound bag!
It’s true that none of us know quite what our futures look like, but I do wholeheartedly believe that life becomes just a bit sweeter if we remind ourselves to stop and smell the roses every now and again. We will all get where we’re going. And we will arrive when we’re supposed to. So in the meantime, I’ll take my eyes off the finish line and continue to enjoy the journey.
What about you? Any creative ways you find to help enjoy the here and now?