Being here when I'm here
One of the things I’ve always noticed when I don’t feel like my life is working very well is that I’m thinking ahead with conditions attached. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, sometimes thinking forward is what holds you back. How many times have you thought to yourself “I’ll apply for that job when… I’ve lost weight / done a course / feel more financially secure / have a partner who can support me”. I’ve done this too many times to count, with the result that I often feel I’ve missed out on so many opportunities.
Even with seemingly little things, “I’ll go to the races when I can afford a nicer dress/hat”, “I’ll be more social when I’m happier with my look”. “I’ll date when I’m thinner”. Sound familiar? I remember being on holiday once with a friend who spent the entire time concerned about what her tan was looking like and taking photos of EVERYTHING so that she could show off when she got back to work. Yes, she wasted her whole holiday thinking about being back at work. Needless to say neither of us really enjoyed it. She wasn’t happy just being there. I think Facebook has a lot to answer for in this department. So many people are more concerned about documenting how much fun they have on a night out, than actually having the fun!
Without hauling out the old blah of “it’s the journey not the destination”, there really does need to be a focus on the here and now. The more we think forward the more potential we have to put things on hold until we feel circumstances are “perfect”. Part of this I’m sure if about fear. A fear of things not working out the way we had hoped. A fear of being rejected because things (or we)aren’t quite right. A fear that our life isn’t measuring up to our expectations so we ensure it at least looks exciting.
A character in one of my favorite movies says disparagingly to her mother when not allowed to go out, “I’m as likely to find a husband in my room as in any other part of this house!”. And it’s so true, well maybe not the husband part unless that’s what you’re looking for. Life will not happen if you spend your life planning what you might do and don’t leave the house!
So focus on what’s going on right now. Of course if you give whatever you’re doing only half your attention and the other half concerning yourself on how much better it could be, you’re going to be frustrated and unhappy. Ever noticed how the first thing people seem so say when they've been zoned out is “what did I miss?” You miss subtle pieces of life that are often really significant. (Laundry is the exception. I hate laundry. It has nothing to recommend it!) If you’re bored at work, stop ignoring everything around you while thinking “I’ll enjoy work more when I find a perfect job”. There is no such thing! Focus on what makes your job interesting, put up your hand for new projects or focus on building relationships with your colleagues. Who knows where it might lead you. Also, apply for your dream job! If you’re sitting around saying to yourself “I’ll go out more with my friends when I’ve lost weight or can buy nicer clothes”. Get your ass dressed and go out! Alternatively if you seriously cant face going out, invite your friends in! Dinner parties are wonderful. Promise yourself you’ll try not to think about any of the things that hold you back for one night (tequila helps here). I’m willing to bet you have an amazing evening even if you’re just going 10 pin bowling. It’s that first step that creates momentum. Get out there and live!
Essentially, focus on doing. Don’t worry about if it’s going to work out, don’t worry about what your friends might think. Let someone else document the chaos for Facebook. Once you’re on the move you’ll find that a lot of the things you worry about feel less important. Be in the moment with whatever you’re doing and it will be so much more rewarding than worrying about what you will or might be doing.
That said, always make time to day dream.