As humans, it seems we're always eager to get through things and reach the next step. We might not realize it, but we're always looking for the next best thing. As a result, we tend not to fully appreciate the things we have because we're always reaching for something we think will be better.
Most of us are just going through the motions in order to obtain the latest upgrade in life. There is nothing wrong with striving for the best, but where does it stop? There is always going to be a better job, a more glamorous lifestyle, smarter electronics, etc. When will we be happy with our current version of "the best"?
I fairly recently graduated college, moved back into my parent's house, landed my first job, and moved out of the nest. When I was still in school, I couldn't wait to enter "the real world." I had it all planned out. I was going to get an awesome job that I loved, make a ton of money, cook real meals, get my own place and fill it with real furniture. I wanted a change in my life. I was tired of classes, and sharing living quarters with my parents. In comparison, "the real world" seem glamorous.
You can imagine how overjoyed I was to have landed a great job, with excellent pay, and benefits only a month after I had received my diploma. My new career meant I finally had the opportunity to get out of the small town we all swore we'd leave the moment we could and never look back. I was finally getting the change I thought I wanted.
Packed in the back of a moving truck was 24 years of youthful memories I had cleared from my parent's attic. I said goodbye to the bedroom I had spent countless nights carelessly giggling and gossiping on the phone with my best friend and hugged my parents who supported me through all my awkward phases. With a swift downward tug on the handle of the truck's back door and a click of the hatch as it locked, I was on my way to the life I had always dreamed of.
Pulling up to my new home, I felt so much excitement surging through my body. This place had everything the small town with one stop light could never offer.
"I finally made it out of there." I thought to myself.
As I unpacked my life into this foreign place I now called "home," I realized the odds and ends I had saved from my college apartment barely filled my new one. Its white walls were so bare and it began to feel cold, less like a home, but I didn't let that get me down. Instead, I thought of all the shopping trips I could make to Ikea in order to fill all of the extra space. I was excited to have a place to myself that I finally had the freedom to decorate and make my own. I saw a blank canvas eager for my artistic touch.
I went to bed early that night, excited for my first day of work the next morning.
I woke up before my alarm clock the next morning, nervous, but more so excited for what was to follow within the next few hours. I would do this for the next few weeks, but soon the excitement would fade and waking before the alarm had become a distant memory replaced by the continuous, mindless push of the snooze button.
As the weeks progressed, I found myself growing more and more unhappy with the cold atmosphere the corporate world provided. My eight hour days quickly turned into 10+ hour days. My eyes grew tired of the endless documents, the harsh florescent lighting, and the glare of the computer screen. I could no longer bear to hear my co-workers who occupied neighboring cubicles gossiping. I couldn't listen to them talk about their imported wine they had shipped to the office for another second. Everyone felt fake. Everyone and everything began to feel cold and uninviting.
I looked forward to the end of the work day. I couldn't wait to get out of the endless line of traffic and crawl underneath a blanket on the comfort of my couch. The only problem was that I had been spending so much time at work, that my comfy couch was still the same broken down futon that got me through four years of college.
As I sat in the dip of my worn out futon, I realized that my life was not adding up to what I hoped it'd be. Yes, I had a great job, in terms of its pay, but that was all my life became. After all this time, I had never even taken the time to fill my apartment with furniture that made it feel like someone lived in it. I never explored the new city that was overflowing new experiences for the girl born and raised in small town U.S.A. I lost touch with my friends and I couldn't remember the last time I had called my mom.
I suddenly missed everything I had been dying to escape from my whole life. I began to yearn for my tiny college dorm, overfilled with posters and cheap furniture. I missed the sound of familiar voices wondering the halls. I missed home. I missed the scent of my mom's cooking, and my dogs. I longed for the bedroom I had spent the previous years of my life laughing with friends and crying over boys in. I suddenly no longer wanted to be an adult.
Adulthood felt cold. It felt like a place where you go to forget about all the things you love. In the process of becoming the successful professional I had always hoped I'd be, I lost track of who I was, what was important to me, and I stopped making time for the people I loved.
The truth is that success isn't everything if you have no one to share it with. Money isn't worth having if you don't have the time or energy to spend it in good company. A job with an awesome title isn't worth having if you stop dreaming of doing the things you love, the things that make you unique.
I had spent my entire life waiting for the change that had finally happened, but what I found is a classic case of the grass not always being greener on the other side.
I think this happens to a lot of people. I think we tend to get caught up in the future and stop appreciating the present. We can always think about how much better the future can be, but then we may never realize that we're already living through some of the best moments of our lives until they've become a part of the past.
I'm not trying to say that there will be no more great moments in the future, but we need to realize that sometimes the grass is greenest right where we are standing and we should be living for the moments we have right now before it's too late.
Let's agree to make more time for the people and the things we love, and eliminate anything that prevents us from doing so.
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Leave the Bananas--Take the Beer