Life doesn’t care about your plans…
(so let’s start living for now)
Ok, so I realise that sounds a little harsh but hear me out.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently, probably because the pandemic has ruined so many plans and has had such a massive impact on the entire world! (this still blows my mind by the way – does anyone else feel like it’s all been a weird dream?!) The past year has shown that you really don’t know what’s around the corner. Quite often, life throws things at us that our completely out of our control and situations can change in an instant. These changes can result in the best or unfortunately, the worst circumstances.
I’ve always felt that no matter how much you ‘plan’ it doesn’t really matter. Don’t get me wrong, to have a plan, to have vision and goals are all great things and I definitely encourage those, but (as we’ve seen) things happen that can completely mess with your plans and leave you in a place of uncertainty.
Think about this for a second. How many times have you heard people say one of these sentences?
“I’ll be happy when…”
“I can relax after I’ve done this…”
“As soon as I get …. Then I’ll be feel better”
“I need to … then I’ll be happy”
“It won’t always be like this.”
I’m guessing you’ve heard these quite a lot. We’ve all said these (or some variant of these) at some point. We, as people are more often than not, chasing something. Chasing a goal or vision that we have that we’ve convinced ourselves we need to get in order to achieve happiness. It could be weight loss, work, relationships, hobbies - anything really. Here is where I think we are going wrong.
We are far to focused on the end result, the outcome, the possibility of some type of reward that we think will feel incredible. Sometimes, it does – like I said, I enjoy having goals and vision, it’s a great motivator. However, it doesn’t always work. We don’t always feel that buzz when we get to where we want to be which results in us creating new goals, new visions and we repeat the cycle again with the hope that ‘one day’ we will have everything we wanted.
There are people that are working ridiculous hours in jobs they hate, just to make a living or to save for that dream house, dream car or never ending list of ‘things’. There are people in unhappy relationships that stay in them because they are worried about being alone, or they have children or a house and the break-up would bring a lot of hassle. There are people putting themselves in social situations they aren’t comfortable with, just because they feel like they need to be around others. There are people hating themselves so much that they place their happiness on the number on the weighing scales. At times, the end result of a vision sometimes convinces us that it’s ok to put ourselves in these situations. It’s not.
Have you stopped to really think about what you have now that does make you happy? Have you thought about the time you are currently wasting by only focusing on the end result? If a future you, told you that getting that house, that car, that relationship, that job or whatever it is, was not quite as satisfying as you thought it would be, would you change the way you currently live?
I’m not trying to offend anyone here, because we all have elements of this. For example, how many of us countdown to the weekend? There’s nothing wrong with looking forward to things or getting that ‘Friday feeling’ but living for the weekend is not really living. If you only feel happy or not stressed during times that you’re not working, then maybe it’s time to look at your work life and ask yourself if it’s for you.
I also don’t think we as individuals are totally to blame here. There are societal pressures out there that make us feel that we should be aiming to have certain things. As a 28-year-old I feel these pressures almost daily. I see friends and peers of similar ages getting married, buying houses and having babies and I’m here still trying to just get through every day without having a meltdown. But that’s ok, because we are all different.
I don’t want to put myself in a situation that makes me unhappy, just because that’s what “I should be doing”. I want to look back at my life knowing I did everything I wanted to do (or at least tried) I want to soak up every ounce of time I possibly have to spend with friends and family (after this year, I will never take them for granted again that’s for sure) I want to look back on good memories and feel confident in saying that I lived my life in the best possible way for me. I don’t want to have regrets. I don’t want to wait until retirement to start enjoying life, because I may not make it that far (in which case I wouldn’t even get to enjoy the fruits of my labour? Absolutely unacceptable.)
So, I’ll end with this…
We should all aim to say yes to things we enjoy and say no to things we don’t! Do at least one thing each day that is for you and makes you happy. Let’s try to enjoy the process of getting to that goal, because time is precious.
Tomorrow is not guaranteed. So let’s start living for now.