I woke up earlier than usual this morning and got up to take the dogs outside. Our home is backed up to the woods with a small babbling creek, and the sun was just starting to rise. I could hear birds all around me and it was still early enough in the morning that the slight night chill and breeze hung in the air. It is very infrequent that I get small moments to myself like this, being a career woman and mother to a 5-year-old busybody daughter. I also very rarely get to meditate as I’d like, so I closed my eyes and took a few deep breaths. Immediately, my mind went to a place of gratitude.
You see, in my early 20s, I used to tell my then-boyfriend and now-husband that he was sucking the soul out of me by not wanting to move to Minneapolis. Then I told him he was sucking the soul out of me for not wanting to move to downtown Seattle and live in an overpriced high-rise that we likely couldn’t afford. Then when I got my first job out of college and I didn’t like the role, I reminded him how my life would’ve been different had he not sucked the soul out of me and agreed to give in and move to all of the places I wanted to on a whim.
I dreamed of a life of constant change. I believed not fulfilling and chasing all dreams right from the start meant my life had no zest. Always thinking the next place or job would be better. That the area I grew up in could no longer serve me. That it was a punishment to have to do adult things such as maintain a consistent job or live in one place for longer than one year. Or that I was above the entry-level position and right away deserved someplace in management with high pay. I was immature to the nth degree.
Fast forward to my current self, standing on the deck in the early morning light at 31 years old. I felt a sense of calm that I yearned for in my early 20s. My fickle, reckless, and immature self could have only dreamed of feeling the way I did. I felt at peace knowing things hadn’t worked out for me in certain jobs, certain people were no longer my friends, alcohol and poor food choices were no longer my norm, and my desire to change my living location four times per year had dissipated.
Feeling comfortable in your own skin is so much more than embracing your physical self. It is about reflecting on the life you thought you’d have and embracing the life you’re currently living. Most of my 20s I spent wishing my life away on the idea of what I thought my life should be, which caused a strain on my own contentment and personal growth.
If you were to ask any successful person how many hurdles they went through to get to their place of contentment, the list would surely be long and distinguished. I now understand how so many people lead unhappy lives, and I am convinced it is due to chronic thoughts of nothing ever being enough. Where you’re at is more than enough. And it is perfectly okay and necessary to have goals of more, but don’t allow it to eat away your stability and peace with the now. Otherwise you’re constantly living in the what should be and not in the now, and that’s a painful spot to be in.
My advice? Embrace the now.