Finding Joy in the Journey

Finding joy in the journey.

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?

love always, Delia

A New Leaf (Again?)

It’s funny how time gets away from you. I can’t believe it’s already mid-October. I almost feel like the summer didn’t even happen. It was a long, wonderful dream I just woke up from, and yesterday was sometime in March or April–I can’t remember, because I am still so groggy from that long dream.

But, somehow, it actually did happen. Even though it seems like a few months ago that Ryan proposed to me, the one-year mark of that day is less than a month away. Our engagement was a whirlwind of nine months. Suddenly, I was not only graduating, but also planning a wedding, and each month along the way, I was learning more and more about how much work that can actually be. A month after graduating, I started working at a job I knew wouldn’t be permanent, while also interning at the University of New Mexico Press. I also began writing for a new local news source, and eventually landed a position with UNM Press.

That was all pre-wedding. The past two months since the wedding have consisted of moving into a new apartment together, slowly settling in, and adjusting to adult lives where we pay bills and wake up early in the morning to partake in the “daily grind” five days a week.

All this has made for a very busy time.

But that’s funny, too. How keeping busy never seems to go away. I thought I’d catch a break when the wedding madness was over, but somehow, that never happened. I long to return to Cabo, where we could lie around doing nothing, and feel great about it. Is that how it always feels when you return home from your honeymoon?

The funniest thing is, now, when I do catch some moments of free time, I don’t know what to do with myself. The fridge is stocked, the apartment is clean, the bills are paid, the family obligations are done, and I don’t have to worry about doing homework anymore…what on earth do I do with myself? I’ve forgotten how to relax. Funny how I tend to do that.

But I’ve just come to the realization that it is in these times that I am most making an excuse for myself. A spare couple of hours, and you waste them thinking about what to-do item you must have missed? That sounds like a perfect way to avoid doing something else important to your life fulfillment…like writing. Or reading. Or finding new outlets for my passions for writing or even photography and design.

I don’t know why this is how I’ve come to operate. I would do that in college, too. In order to “procrastinate productively,” I would clean my dorm room, do my dishes, take a shower, and….sigh, and resign myself to my fate. But now, I don’t have a syllabus to keep to. I don’t have a grade depending on my dedication. So it’s easier to put off things like finishing my screenplay or writing new stories. Or, obviously, things as simple as keeping up with this blog.

So here’s the new plan. I’m going to write whenever I can. Whenever one of those moments of, hmm, what should I do now? comes up, I’m going to buckle down onto my computer and write a blog entry. Or work on a story. Or research my creative outlets and options. Anything more productive than just sitting there musing about when I might next need to buy groceries.

To help facilitate this, I’m going to approach this blog with a little more versatility. I’m definitely going to stick with mostly writing about writing, but I’m going to take a cue from my best friend’s blog and just write when I need to, too. About whatever. Because “whatever” matters, too.

Even now, I’m thinking of all these things I just need to get onto paper, or the digital equivalent, anyway. Let’s get to it!