Sometimes you learn the most important lessons at the most random times. I remember being a senior in college, standing in the gift shop I worked in and unpacking new greeting card shipments. I was especially excited because we had just started getting Quotable Cards and they all said fun stuff on them that helped pass my hours at work. The very first one I pulled out of the box said this:
“For a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin- real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. This perspective has helped me to see there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. So treasure every moment you have and remember that time waits for no one…. Happiness is a journey, not a destination. -Souza”
Honestly, I had never thought about life like that before, even though I was 22 years old. And I realized this is exactly what I had been doing. College seemed like just a brief period in my life. There’s so much pressure surrounding what you’re going to do after college, that college always felt like a simple thing I was meant to get through so I could get on with the rest of my life. Would I go to grad school? Where would I work? Would I get married and have kids? What would my life be like? Wait, what would it be like? It was happening right in front of my face. RIGHT NOW. What was I waiting for?
I still catch myself doing this from time to time and I often go back and re-read the quote to bring myself back to the moment. This quote popped into my mind this morning because I realized I was doing it again. I’ve been so busy with work lately that I often find myself saying things like, “As soon as I get through all this work…” But the problem is, I don’t ever get through all the work. And I probably won’t ever get through it all. This is my life. And I need to balance the work with the play, instead of just waiting to relax until after the work is done. Because the work is part of my life. Part of the present.
But I’m much better than I used to be. Maybe it’s because I’m through all the school and am working in a field I truly love. I’m pretty sure life will change; hopefully my career will grow into something even more and maybe some day I’ll even have a house instead an apartment. Maybe I’ll have a family. And maybe I won’t have debts in the form of grad school loans (please! please!). But you know what? It doesn’t really matter. Because I’m living life NOW. And instead of waiting to find my happiness, I’m happy now. And it feels so good.