My first expansion from my previous post is mostly inspired by a song that came onto my Pandora station not more than five minutes ago. I was absentmindedly doodling in my journal when I heard the chorus very clearly, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I still haven’t found what I’m looking for. For some reason, perhaps because it’s late, perhaps it’s a lack of sleep, or maybe it’s because I’m just feeling emotional, but this just got me. Searching, looking, waiting, constantly in a cycle of unsatisfied wanting. I feel like I am not the only one living in this trap. I live in a generation where most of the people around me have been taught to always keep looking for what’s next. Never are we taught to simply cherish the day that’s in front of us.
From a very young age, I realize I have been surrounded by this notion that I will always be happier or more fulfilled in the future. I was asked as a child what I wanted to be when I grew up, and not only adults, but other children practically laughed in my face when I told them I wanted to be an actor. I couldn’t POSSIBLY find happiness as an actor because that wouldn’t bring me enough “success.” NO, I needed to look for a more suitable job to look forward to in my future. This was my future we were talking about. Already, my future search was shaping how adults were teaching and interacting with me. Instead of seeing the six year-old who loved to play imaginary games and run barefoot in the middle of winter, I was seen by so many as someone who had a future that needed thinking about. I’m not trying to say that anyone robbed me of my childhood, because I really had quite a rich childhood. And I’m also not trying to say that we shouldn’t encourage children to dream and find a spectacular path in life. What I want to highlight is this insatiable need to search for something better in the future that seems to be the mantra of the people.
I am constantly second guessing myself because what if I find a better plain white shirt than the one I just bought? Or what if I am dating the wrong person so I never meet the person who is supposed to really be my significant other? What if I don’t go to that party? Should I take this job? What if a better job comes along? My mother, and most of my friends I’m sure would easily tell you that I am constantly asking “What do you think? I’m doing the right thing, right? This is the right decision, right?” I am never fully at peace with my decisions, because it has been ingrained into me to always be searching or waiting for the next thing.
Like I mentioned before, I’m a junkie for magazines promising happiness if I just do, use, or eat that one thing. If I eat this thing then I will feel great in a couple of weeks. If I use these cream, my skin will be beautiful in just 20 seconds because it worked for some obscure intern in some office. I know that once I get those shirts/pants/shorts/shoes then I’ll totally love my closet. I totally don’t have anything to wear. And I’ll totally feel happy once I have that thing I really need. WHAT? STOP. PAUSE. HELP. I am a serial future worshipper, and I hereby surrender to my wavering happiness and personal balance.
But what if I tried this radical thing and tried to stay planted in the now? What if I made sure to be aware and conscious of my future, but didn’t let it dictate my happiness in this incredibly precious present moment? I am constantly thinking about the next thing, rarely feeling gratitude for what’s happening right in front of my face. My challenge to myself is be more gratuitous to this gift that is the present. To cherish the relationships I have now. To immerse myself in each and every moment of my day. To find joy. To bloom. To find security in not searching.