Do you wish your life away? Don't wait for the future to find happiness.

A friend once shared poem from a Chicken Soup book that really struck a chord with me:

 “First I was dying to finish high school and college.

And then I was dying to finish college and start working.
And then I was dying to marry and have children.
And then I was dying for my children to grow old enough for school so I could return to work.
And then I was dying to retire.
And now, I am dying. . . and suddenly I realize I forgot to live.”

-Anonymous

Wow. These words hit me SO HARD. I read it over and over and over. Why? Because this is seriously my life.  The poet speaks how they are never happy with where they are in life; they are constantly wishing they could advance to the next step. I am sad to admit that wishing my life away is a bad habit of mine. I don’t seem to ever quite be happy with where I am in life. I can even recall to these thoughts starting even back to when I was a little girl. For the longest time when I was just a kid, I remember how badly I wanted to be a teenager. I used to play “teenager” in the house and pretend I was one. Teenagers seemed so cool and old to me at the time.

I just wanted to be older.

Fast forward to my teenage years. At this point, I just couldn’t wait to get the heck out of the house and go to college. I craved freedom, independence, and was sick of not being taken seriously. I felt like everybody looked down at me as a stupid kid, no matter how mature I acted. I was sick of high school, rules, and not being able to drive a car. I was sick of immature boys, curfews, and being told what to do. I couldn’t wait for the day that I could start my life as an independent adult free of my parents hovering over me.

I just wanted to be older.

Even in college, I found myself still feeling like a child. Sure, I was given more responsibilities, but it wasn’t enough. I wanted to graduate and not be labeled as a “poor college kid.” I aspired to have a career, a salary, and more respect. I was sick of getting paid minimum wage even though I was months away from having a degree, and having to live paycheck to paycheck to be able to afford my rent and groceries. I counted down the days to graduation on my calendar, and couldn’t wait to claim my new title, College Grad.

Now I finally finished my undergrad, but I still want more. I want to finish my Master’s degree. I want to start my dream career. I dream about my wedding day and having a house full of beautiful babies.

Here’s the question.

Will I ever be satisfied? Will the cycle ever end? Will I ever just be enough and be happy with my current situation?

It scares me how much the poet and I are alike. I don’t ever want to be on my death bed some day and realize that I have wished my entire life away. I have realized that in the past few years that this is what exactly I have been doing. It is time to work on accepting the place where I am at in life and being content with where I am and what I have. I need to work on being more present and letting my internal happiness come from living moment to moment instead of thinking about the future so much.

Because you know what? I would give anything to go back just for one day when I was 9 years old. To go back to playing in the snow, swimming in the lake, and playing on the swing set without a care in the world. No bills to pay, no worries, no stress. Just living young and carefree. I would give anything to go back just for one single day; but back then, I would have given anything to be older. And I’m sure that someday if I am lucky enough to live to be 90 years old, I will give anything to just go back to when I was 23; young, healthy, and full of life. The age I am right now.

Funny how life works, isn’t it?

My challenge for you

If you feel like you are wishing your life away, take a step back and reflect. What is something wonderful in your life that you haven’t been very appreciative of lately? Perhaps your little one has started throwing terrible tantrums and you cannot wait until she is older and grows out of this stage. Maybe you are in the middle of planning a wedding and are so stressed that you just want it to be over. Try not to think this way; instead, think of how this time you have is limited and precious. That you will never, ever get this time back in your life.

Remember, your time on Earth is limited. You never know when your last day is. It’s time to stop wishing your life away and be happy in this very moment.

Do you feel like you are constantly striving to be somewhere else in your life? I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject in the comments below.

Xoxo,

Enjoy this post? Check out my other self-improvement posts:
How to Be Happy During a Rough Time
How to Keep Hope When Your Future is Uncertain

 

  • Lindsay Katherine

    Wow- what a powerful post. Between that poem and your reflection, you really got e thinking and feeling this morning. You give such an important perspective and reminder to be present in the current moment.

    • Chelsea

      Thank you Lindsay. I just couldn’t believe how spot on that poem was for me. It’s like I could have wrote it, which saddened me.

  • Beautiful! You have some of the best motivating inspiring posts. Thank you so much!

    • Chelsea

      Aw thank you so much, Nichole! That is so kind of you to say.

  • Wow, this is such an amazing post. Sitting here and thinking back, wishing life away is definitely something that I catch myself doing be it hoping the work day flies by or counting down the weeks until vacation.

    • Chelsea

      I think we are all guilty of it, Kerri…actually, I KNOW we are all guilty of it. I’m not quite sure how to stop the thinking. But I do know that I need to be more content with the present!

  • Shelby Bussard

    I love this. I think we have all moments where we wish our life away and don’t even realize it. It’s great to just slow down and take things in for once. Thanks for sharing.

    • Chelsea

      Thanks so much for reading, Shelby! It’s a continuous journey.

  • Christine Hawkins

    Oh my gosh, I love this. This is where I am stuck. I think at one point in all of our lives we wish to be older, we wish we could do something different. Your so right. We end up wishing our life away. We often do forget to live. I love this Chels! Very powerful.

    • Chelsea

      Aw thanks so much, Christine! You are such a loyal reader and I am so thankful for you. I think we all do it too- don’t feel guilty! We just need to be more aware of our thought processes.

  • The London Dater

    Hi Chelsea,

    Another fantastic post – and one that I can personally relate too so hard! They say ambition is a curse!

    They say life isn’t a destination, it’s a journey – and if there’s one thing that the world’s most successful people have in common – it’s that they’re never satisfied with the amount of success they have!

    I do agree with your overall message that it’s important to reflect on and be grateful for whatever you have at any given moment though.

    Keep up the great content. I’m off to tweet this blog post right now.

    • Chelsea

      Thank you sooo much! I appreciate your support more than you’ll ever know!

      What is your blog URL again? I think I lost it! Would love to check it out.

  • Well said, my friend! This is something I’ve always struggled with, and now I’d give anything to relive so many moments and stages from earlier in life. A few years ago, I decided to try to break this cycle and stop wishing time away. I’m not perfect at it by any means, but now I can identify when I’m going there and I can focus on being more present instead. It makes such a difference!

    • Chelsea

      Good for you! I think the first step is self-awareness. I feel like I am improving by just KNOWING that I used to think ahead so much. It’s so hard at this point in my life though because so many exciting things are coming just around the corner.

  • Me too, Chels. My husband would joke with me that I was never truly happy with the stage of life I was, in but wanted the one before or after. A few years later I decided this was not okay. And today, I try to enjoy the small, daily moments – knowing they are building something bigger. Thank you for your honest and vulnerable words.

    • Chelsea

      Good for you, Ashley! I’m so glad to hear that you took the initiative to be more happy with the present. And thank you so much for reading and commenting!

  • Popofstyle

    This seriously just made me cry! I can relate so much, just as I’m sure most people who read this have. We are constantly wishing for the next step and/or something more and I’m guilty of this too. We need to appreciate what we have in the moment, right now.
    x
    Missy
    Popofstyle.com

    • Chelsea

      Oh my gosh! Aw thank you so much, Missy, for your kind words. I didn’t mean to make you cry by any means! It’s something we all need to work on <3

  • Yes! This! I’m very much the same way (it comes from being an obsessive planner and time manager I think…) – I’m hardly ever satisfied just living in the now… I’ve been working hard in the last year or so to stop and appreciate the now, because you’re right you miss the yesterdays just as much as you want the tomorrows.

    We’re never content with what we have are we…
    xxox
    Laura @Cook, Wine and Thinker!

    • Chelsea

      Hey Laura! Thanks so much for reading. I’m also an obsessive planner and time manager; that must be part of the problem! 😛

  • I think I am living my life but I definitely remember wishing to be older, married, kids. But with my kids I love enjoying what we do on a day to day basis, finding and catching bugs is something my son (2) thinks is amazing and my younger son is learning to pull himself up and it is so fun to see the look of accomplishment and the big smile that comes with pulling himself up to standing using the coffee table of couch. I think part of the reason for my contentment is that I have always felt a calling to be a mother and on top of that last year we found a church and we’ve become members of a great community.

    • Chelsea

      I’m glad you can relate, Rebecka. I’m so happy that you are content and are living your life according to the present, and not the future :)

  • Cindy @HometownQueenBee

    This sounds so much like me lol…enjoyed reading this and it def made me think!

    • Chelsea

      Thanks so much for reading, Cindy! It’s definitely a nasty habit.

  • Ashley Chase

    I used to love those books! I think I had almost every one of them. After my mom passed away I had the same realization that I wasn’t living life to the fullest!

    • Chelsea

      I think I have read every single one as well!! I should try to find them at my parents’ house. I’m really sorry our mom passed..hopefully it was a positive reflection and you were able to make some changes :)

  • Natasha

    Wow. Needed this today. This is also a nasty habit of mine. Thank you for the beautiful reflection.

    • Chelsea

      You’re not the only one, Natasha! Thanks so much for reading.

  • I need to be more present. I am not wishing my life away. Sometimes I feel like I am too busy and it is racing by. Thanks for sharing.

    • Chelsea

      Same here, Mary! You’re not alone. That’s another habit of mine I am trying so hard to fix. Thank you for reading, new reader!

  • PS please link up with Literacy Musing Mondays. I love reflection pieces based on what we have been reading. 😉
    http://www.maryanderingcreatively.com/word-power-literacy-musing-mondays-27

    • Chelsea

      I would love that! Thank you so much!!

  • Allison Hill

    Great piece. Everyone needs to take responsibility and live life, that’s what it’s all about. I would love to showcase you on my blog, it fits in perfectly with my journey of transformation, let me know if it’s something you’d be interested in. Great job! Words to live by.

    • Chelsea

      Hi Allison, I would absolutely love that! It would be an honor <3 Thank you so much for reading.

  • Beautiful, thought-provoking post. I remember the first time I read that poem. I’m not sure where but it also resonated greatly with me. I think that we never know when to slow down and take a breath, thank you for the reminder.

    • Chelsea

      Hi Hiba, thanks so much for reading! Isn’t that a powerful poem? It really hit me hard!!

  • I love this post. I find myself slipping into this mindset a lot… like “as soon as this happens, I can do this.” I have to remind myself to enjoy where I am now.

    • Chelsea

      I do that as well, Shannon! I think it’s just habitual thinking. We can easily break it. :)

  • I am totally guilty of this. I felt the same way growing up. I’m trying to slow down and take it all in, but I’d be lying if I told you just this morning I wasn’t wishing for a time where we finally had a home.
    Sometimes it’s hard to live in the moment, but it’s necessary to try. :) Thanks for the reminder.

    • Chelsea

      Hey Jaelan! Thanks so much for reading. It’s certainly hard sometimes. What helps me is just remembering that we will never experience this time period again in our lives, and we will miss parts of it eventually :)

  • Laura Nalin

    Excellent post! I am definitely guilty of this, as are most people I know. My mom recently visited me here in Korea, and after not seeing her for 2 years, I saw how much she’s changed and how much older she’s getting. It really struck a chord with me that I am also getting older. It’s pretty scary and something I try not to think about. Thank you for putting things into perspective and also in the forefront of my mind! Cheers x

    • Chelsea

      Hey Laura! Wow, that is incredibly powerful. For one, it’s awesome you live in Korea. I would love to visit someday! Secondly, sometime perspective is needed to make healthy changes! Thanks for reading!

  • Wow that poem really hit me as well. I can remember wishing my life away when I was younger. Right now I think I do that with marriage and babies. I think it’s because it’s always in my face. I get on Facebook and see people I graduated having babies or getting engaged and I feel pressured. I am happy with my life and reading that poem, I need to remind myself how lucky I am to be where I am right now. Life is already going to fast and I don’t need to wish it away.

    • Chelsea

      Lexi, I’m the same way. I didn’t want to include it in this post but I cannot WAIT to have kids. If I was financially stable and finished with grad school, I would have a baby right now. I think that’s a very normal thing of our millennial generation…we naturally see what other people have on social media and such and get jealous/want what they have!!

  • It is true! My biggest regret is not being fully present over the last few years while living my life. And, yet, I still do it- go through days without presence. Wherever I am in the timing of my life, I want to strive and be just that…there. Completely there and thankful. I’m not there yet, but working on it.

    • I’m happy to hear that you are conscious and aware of this, Lori! Just keep on working on being present and you will have no regrets.

  • This is me!! I definitely am guilty of wishing I was older or in another stage of life and I think trying to live in the present is so important but also much more difficult than it sounds.

    • I know. I struggle with it so much..which is why I HAD to write about it. I think it’s getting better, though..

  • This is so me! I was just talking with a friend the other day about this. I am going through a breakup (sucks!) and she is at a difficult cross roads and we said adult life is hard because growing up it was always “this is the next step” – school, college, graduate, job, etc. But now we’re in the adult phase and have jobs and it’s kind of like “is this it?” I have a hard time feeling content. I’m always looking for what’s coming next and expecting it to be better. I have a really hard time living in and enjoying the present. I am always dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. I know I need to change but I don’t know how!

    • Aw Jill :( I’m so sorry to hear about the breakup :( Those are the worst. You make a very valid point that I never really thought about before! SO TRUE…once you hit adulthood, there seems to be no “next step!” But I think that there is…the next step is whatever goal you have in mind :) You are I are very alike in this thinking. I’ve actually talked about how I struggle living in the present with my counselor and she really helped me :) It’s easy to just say to anyone “live in the moment!!” But we all know that’s easier said than done. I worry about the past and the future! You and I will get through this together. I’m sorry again about your breakup…I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you in the blogosphere and I think you’re a wonderful person! SO worthy of love in the future :) xo

      • Thanks girl! This made me cry a bit (although most everything does at this stage). I am thankful for my blog that keeps me busy and distracted and all the wonderful people I have met through this crazy blogging world, including you!

      • Aw thank you so much! <3 I'll be thinking of you!