One encouraging thing about getting older, for me, has been realizing that there is no When. There is no future time that will make me different than I am right now. There are things that will make me happy, or sad, or richer or poorer, but none of who I am hinges on any of that. I only get to choose right now.
It may sound like a revelation, but I prefer to think of it as a reward. When nothing is guaranteed, when you get closer and closer to knowing how brief and fleeting most of life is, reaching a point of appreciation feels really lucky. And I think this might be where I get caught up when I think about what I deserve– I forget to learn from what I’ve already received.
The other day while on a hike (yes, we’re so Colorado. What can I say?) a friend and I were talking about relationships and that moment when you realize you really like someone, or even love them, and how so quickly your mind wants to ask you “What’s next?” or tell you that it will be even better once you’re past this stage. But will it? There’s no way to really know that.
But, if you stop to think about the moment, that feeling of anticipation and excitement, isn’t that enough? Isn’t that pretty special and magical? And no matter what, that feeling is not going to come your way again. Whether because your relationship grows or you end up in another one further down the road, that feeling right now is it. It is all you have.
That much I can appreciate.
From this perspective, I can see myself a little clearer, too. I can see that stories I’ve told myself about why I do or do not deserve something is just that, a story. If I am telling myself I don’t deserve something good, then I’m either living in the past where I didn’t do enough or in the future where I can’t do enough. The only thing that is true is what I am right now, and how I feel when I let right now really sink in. It’s an opportunity, really. Because I get to decide, then, if I want to stay on that path or if I want to change it. I get to decide. See? Rewarding.
It is a practice, of course, but I encourage you to try it. It is our nature to be anticipating something, though, so instead of planning a story that hasn’t happened yet, sit in the one you’re in now. Feel the excitement or the hope or the dread and ask yourself what any of that means to you. No matter what the answer, no matter if we like it or not, it is never going to be exactly like this again. I’m trying not to miss any of it, because I know I deserve that much for sure.