As a child I imagined adulthood almost as if it were a destination, believing that once I got there I would have the dream job, the dream husband, and the dream home. I would have accomplished every item on my bucket list and would just live out the life I had fantasized until I grew old.
Of course, now that I’m older, I’ve come to see how flawed that vision was. In truth, whether or not we ever achieve the “dream” job, husband or home, our lives will never be 100% settled. No matter what we plan for the future, the ever-changing nature of life and time makes it impossible for us to ever reach a static state of settlement.
And to be honest, there’s nothing wrong with that. Understanding life as an ongoing series of transitions — rather than viewing our current circumstances as merely stepping stones to a more ideal, permanent state — is liberating, and can in fact teach us to better embrace the here and now. When we let go of the expectations for our lives, we’re better able to grasp the incredible opportunities that each present moment holds.
I used to envision the candlelit dinner parties I would host for friends when I moved into the perfect home and the corner office I would have when I landed the perfect job, but I no longer want to wait for an imagined set of circumstances in order to live out the life I want. I might not have the perfect home or the job I had imagined, but what’s to stop me from hosting friends at my current house, or from being happy in my current job?
None of us knows what the future holds, so let’s each start embracing the transitional phases of the present. Let’s celebrate what we have, giving care and attention to nourishing both our souls and our relationships, and creating memories now that we’ll be forever thankful for.
As Henry David Thoreau’s words remind us: “You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.”
What can you embrace right now?