There are a few life lessons that we seem to learn too late. I’ve learned in recent years that my parents were usually right…staying up late was not in my best interest (or anyone else’s that would be around me the following morning), high school drama would not determine the rest of my life, and that they didn’t hate me for making me eat broccoli. (I can’t say the same about the infamous “International Night” of dinner, though, in which my mother once served French Toast, Mexican Quesadillas with American cheese, and Chinese fried rice. On the same plate. I shudder to this day and wonder if it was some passive aggressive response to my not cleaning my room.) In any case, as I’ve gotten older, the list of “If I knew then what I know now,”s has gotten increasingly longer.
One lesson I’m trying to keep in mind right now is simple yet difficult to grasp. The concept that time is fleeting and nothing from this earth lasts forever is something I remind myself of when I need a little perspective.
We need to enjoy today for today. Not for what it was, or what it will be, but for what it IS.
When I was in college, I had my sights set on one particular guy. “If he only noticed me,” I’d think, “Then I’d be happy.”
Said boy fell in love with my and proposed. “If only we were married,” I’d think, “Then I’d be happy.”
We soon got married and things were good. For a while. “If only we had a house, then I’d be happy,” is what would go through my mind. (I think you see where this is going.)
We got the house, next on the list was a baby. After the baby was born, I would dream of the day she’d start sleeping through the night. Then the day she’d start walking. Then the birth of the next child…the never ending cycle had begun, because I didn’t know how to be grateful for the now, and was just focused the next.
If we can’t be happy right now, we will never truly be happy. Ever-changing circumstances will determine our attitude and rule our perspective.
Today, even in the trials, find something to be grateful for. Set your sights on goals and future plans, but don’t let them get in the way of enjoying everything you can in the moment you’re in. I can never go back to the days I missed by wanting something bigger and better, but I can change the way I look at things now.
Check out all the Living Joyfully articles for some encouragement.