A few years ago I was on the phone with a friend and we were sharing our latest projects and plans – the deadlines, commitments and tasks ahead of us. With each one we remarked how relieved we’d be when it was over.
Suddenly I had a light-bulb moment and said, “You know, if you take our thinking to the extreme, what we’re really wishing is for everything to be over. We’re wishing for the end of life.” There was silence on the line as we pondered that heavy-duty philosophical concept.
We all have goals, commitments and schedule demands that dominate our day-to-day lives. We tend to deal with the resulting stress by fast-forwarding our thinking and anticipating “When this is over….” At that magical time our bank accounts will show a healthy surplus, we’ll clean out the junk drawer, our fine lines will be visibly reduced, we’ll fit into our tight jeans, we’ll take a weekend get-away. You name it – we’re waiting for it to finally happen! But this frenzied, distracted, semi-conscious approach to living is really no way to make a life.
Sometimes what we think we want most is to get off the merry-go-round, when all we really need is to figure out how to enjoy the ride.
Here are some suggestions for enjoying your own life journey:
Reflect. Just as you spend time planning where you’re going, take a look back to see where you’ve come from in terms of professional growth, raising a family, or personal goals.
Celebrate. In addition to commemorating the big accomplishments, rejoice in the small victories and unexpected blessings, too.
Live in the moment. Stay fully engaged and fully present. Focus on the task or interaction at hand. Don’t compromise your attention with too much multi-tasking.
Be content. Be accepting of who you are and what you have right now, rather than constantly wishing for things to be different.
Enjoy the process. Take satisfaction in effort and activity, not just results and achievement. Savor your experiences and grow within them.
Be grateful. Embrace and exhibit a spirit of thankfulness. Appreciate the many blessings that you benefit from – and take for granted – every day.
Stay flexible. Be open to serendipity – “the phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for.” Watch for unanticipated opportunities.
Be prepared. Problems are inherent in life. Be ready for obstacles and setbacks so they don’t throw you off track.
Have fun. Appreciate the simple pleasures in life. Invite laughter, silliness and small moments of joy into your days. So keep moving forward, but don’t miss the scenery along the way. On the great highway of life, take time to stop for a snack, play a favorite song, photograph a scenic vista, and enjoy an intimate conversation with your traveling companion – in other words, enjoy the trip! You’ll still get where you’re going and your destination will be ready and waiting when you arrive.