“So Ang, I’m starting to think there is no there.”
A resounding YES is all I could seem to respond with. That was exactly it.
Let me backtrack a bit–a close girlfriend and I were talking about this idea of perfection and our seemingly never-ending journey to get “there.”
For much of my adult life, I haven’t fully enjoyed and embraced where I was in the moment because there was always another goal I needed to accomplish before allowing myself to do so. I needed to get to the next stop. Because once I got there, life would just become easy. Happiness would be effortless. Problems would cease to exist. Au contraire.
In college, it was “When I get over this eating disorder, then I’ll be happy.” The binge eating disorder lasted nearly a decade; while I am undeniably grateful that chapter is over in my life, recovery didn’t magically make me content with life itself like I expected it would.
After college and joining the military, it was “When I get to pursue teaching, then I’ll be happy.” I taught high school English for 2 years and it was emotionally draining trying to give all of myself to post-pubescent teens while still keeping my head above water. Still, the experience, overall, was so incredibly rewarding because of the students and other (amazing/out-of-this-world/definitely-don’t-get-paid-enough) teachers. And still, it wasn’t enough.
In the midst of teaching, it was “When I get married, then I’ll be happy.” I hit the husband jackpot. Curt is the real deal. This Texas boy stopped eating meat and started picking up stray doggies all in the name of love. This man is the embodiment of strength, grace, and wisdom and does it all while making me ugly laugh every night! But guess what? Almost 2 years into our marriage and I’m here writing this blog about trying to get there. Still.
Starting to notice a pattern?
Enough was never enough. There was always one more thing I needed before I could allow myself to be content with my life. As it’s said “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” Me? My entire life was making other plans. Instead of realizing and appreciating the present, my mind and heart were constantly in the future.
Now this isn’t to say that I’ve just been this ungrateful, depressed puddle of poo (alliteration ftw!) this entire time. What I am saying though is that at any of my happiest points, had someone asked me, “Is there anything that could make this even better?” My response would have always been “YES.” More money, less work, a 6-pack, small magical elves to clean my house…you name it.
I think it’s wonderful to have goals and strive towards becoming a better version of yourself, but when that vision just makes you feel crappy most of the time because you’re not there yet, well, then something’s got to give. There is so much power in accepting and embracing where you are at in your life–the belief that your current situation, as dismal or delightful as it seems, is exactly where you’re supposed to be…an exact preparation for some other chapter in your life. Because really, what is your other option? To constantly feel like you’re not enough, and life is “on hold” until you can get all of your figurative sh*t together? That sounds fun. =)
At the end of this post, I wish I could tell you that I’ve figured it out. That regardless of my circumstances, I am utterly content. That I never daydream about the future or the promises of unsettled territories. I can’t. But I can say that I am getting better.
So maybe if you’re struggling with this too, we can both see that this is as good as it gets and we’ve been there this whole time; we’ve just been too distracted to notice.