Last week, I had a lovely little epiphany.
I was reading Jana’s beautiful post, “I Need to Be Content,” on her blog Life Could Be a Dream. She was talking all about how easy it is to just dream about the future and not appreciate the present fully for what it is. This tendency, as she points out, can be particularly harmful because it means that we can’t see how our now will soon become our past, and something that we may wish one day that we had appreciated before.
I do this all the time. I dream now about the day when Ryan and I can afford a nice home for ourselves, complete with a yard, a large kitchen, and a dog (or three). Two years ago, I was dreaming of getting married and living together in an apartment. Well, here I am, married and in our apartment, and while I do take the time to appreciate where we are, I do not do it enough to justify how much energy I spent two years ago daydreaming of this lifestyle, and I do not do it enough to justify how much energy I spend now focusing on the unforeseeable future. Why do I do this?
I loved reading what Amberly had to say on the topic. She noted that though we once wished for where we are now, we can’t appreciate where we are because we’ve already moved on to bigger and better dreams. That really stuck with me. What a great way to put it; she’s so right! Once we’ve completed a step, it’s so hard to just be in the present moment and appreciate life having reached the next step, because we’re already mentally jumping ahead to the next step.
It all got me to thinking–what should I be appreciating, right here and now, that I just don’t enough because I’m too busy daydreaming about my next steps? In the spirit of Kaysie’s The Positives–
1. I have a job in publishing. Period. This is all I hoped for when working to complete my degree in college, so why waste so much time now worrying about moving up into more editorial work? I’m sure the time will come, so right now I need to do justice to the simpler dream I held for so long, not too long ago.
2. Part of my job right now is to read manuscript submissions of fiction, memoir, art, and some essay collections. This is the step into editorial I need, and, hello, I get to be paid for reading. I’m not sure how I could be luckier with a first “real” job.
3. Furthermore on my job: I do have upward mobility, and I have great benefits. How awesome is it to have something like paid leave and holidays? It was totally unheard of for me until I reached this point, and you can bet that I’m going to appreciate it all that I can.
4. I am living in an adult world. It is complete with my own apartment, kitchen, and desk. It is also complete with bills and a daily commute. For so long in college, all I wanted was to finish and be able to move back home and be with Ryan, and now here I am and much of my time I spend either reminiscing about the college times I couldn’t appreciate in their present, or musing about the home and travels I hope Ryan and I will have in the future. No. While some of that is fine, why not enjoy the now, since I spent so long dreaming of it once upon a time?
5. I am married to the man of my dreams and my best friend. Period. That’s awesome.
6. Despite the increased distance and busyness between us, my closest friendships remain strong.
7. I have the time and even resources to pursue my dreams of writing and photography. Now that I’m not planning a wedding or finishing college, I can shift my focus to these other things that really make me happy. It’s a blessing in itself, so I really need to learn to step back and appreciate this ride as it (hopefully) gains success.
What a number of things to be thankful for, right here and now! What are the joys in your journey?