What are you waiting for?
This is a departure from the usual Chuck and Kelly blog entry. It’s something that’s been on my mind quite a bit for the last two weeks.
My son was a difficult baby. He didn’t sleep more than two consecutive hours for the first two years of his life. He was almost always miserable. I remember thinking “I can’t wait for him to sit up on his own”. Then he could play on a blanket for a few minutes while I took care of his sister. Then it was “I can’t wait for him to sleep through the night” (for obvious reasons) and then it was “I can’t wait for him to be able to talk so he can tell me why he’s so misearable”.
At 18 months old, when he finally did begin communicating with words… everything changed. He was suddenly a happy kid because he could tell me what was wrong. We figured out that he had been frustrated at watching his sister do things and not being able to do them himself. When he could finally talk, his entire demeanor changed. How frustrating it must be to want or need something and not be able to communicate that, or having that next milestone just out of reach.
Looking back, I realized that I spent his first two years on this earth wishing for time to go by faster. I wished away his first two years of life by constantly looking ahead to the next stage, that I didn’t take the time to fully enjoy HIM along the way.
Many of us are always looking ahead to a milestone event before we can be happy. I’ll be happy when the kids are in school. I’ll be happy when I get that promotion. I’ll be happy when the kids finish college. I’ll be happy when I retire. I’ll be happy….when?
We recently lost a very good friend. He was close to retirement, and he and his wife were counting down the days when they could FINALLY do the things they had been looking forward to their entire lives together. He passed away suddenly, on a Wednesday night… just 59 days from retirement.
I’ve spent the two weeks since his passing taking inventory of my own life, realizing that it isn’t life’s next step that will make me happy. I’m happy right now. Life isn’t perfect, but I don’t want to spend the second half of my life waiting for that next milestone to make me happy. I don’t want to wish away my life, the way I wished away my son’s first two years because it will be over before you know it. It’s good to have goals, and things to look forward to. But it’s also important to be happy in the here and now. Also consider that “happy” doesn’t always mean skipping along, overflowing with joy and love at all times. Sometimes just being content is enough.
I’m finally at a place where I can look around and say I’ll be happy…..right now. Life isn’t perfect, but it doesn’t have to be. I’m content, and that’s good enough.
What are YOU waiting for?