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.”
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.
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