I had a date with myself to check in on money stuff last week. After perusing through my accounts, the situation was a little more, shall we say, bleak, than I was anticipating, due to some unexpected expenses and a few bills I hadn’t already taken into account.
As I wallowed in all the negative feelings which ensued, I started thinking about how to dig myself out. Stop spending! Work more hours! Sell something big! Eliminate all unnecessary expenses! Cancel Netflix! Turn the heat down! Start biking to work even though it’s almost winter! Stop buying food!
Obviously, this bunny trail led me to a very polarized place. And in that place, I started thinking, “Wow, this is really gonna suck for a while.”
And that was my queue that something had gone wrong. Because, you see, I am totally not okay with my life sucking, even if it’s just for a little while.
I realized right then, this has happened to me before . . . and last time, I found a better way out of it than allowing everything to feel awful.
Full disclosure: my own house doesn’t look the way I want it to, just yet. (Unexpected thing to say for someone who blogs about home, right?) And in the beginning, this would gnaw at me. I felt like a hypocrite for not doing better. I’d beat myself up for not having a cuter kitchen. I’d walk through the living room and think how much I hated the wallpaper. If you drove by the front of my house right now, you wouldn’t know there was an aspiring gardener living here because EVERYTHING IS DEAD. It’s been a dry year, and a busy one, and it was one of the many things I let slide. Needless to say, I’m not ready to publish a house tour on my blog today, which is something that I aspire to do someday; I don’t feel it’s at a level I want it to be at to let everybody in the world see it.
But the change happened when I realized about a year ago: my whole house doesn’t have to be “camera-ready” in order for ME to love it, right this second. As soon as I realized that, I was able to give myself and my house due credit for the things that were working really, really well.
Sure, we have ugly wallpaper in the living room, but we also have a cozy chair and table in a corner with two big windows, where I love to get my work done. The kitchen is dated and I while I dislike the look of the wall covered in cupboards . . . I love that I’m the only person I know with more kitchen storage than I need. (Plus my kitchen is filled with beautiful things that mean a lot to me, and are rich with history of the people I love.) Our yard looks abysmal, but my husband just got a job working for a native prairie grasses nursery, and I’m pretty sure it’s going to start looking amazing in the next few years.
I haven’t achieved the goal I’m working towards, of a beautiful home that I can share with the online world, but in the meantime . . . I sure do love living here.
The “status quo” has a way of working towards goals, and it’s what most of us have ingrained into our habits and attitudes. We put off pleasures and happiness until we’ve achieved certain successes: until I land the job. Until I pay off the debt. Until I finish purging all the clutter in my entire house. Until I’m engaged/married/a parent.
Here’s the truth:
Everything comes down to your one precious life, and how you want to be living it.
You’re “living your life” right NOW, just as completely and truly as you will be once you’ve “made it” in whatever way you’re working toward.
So even if you’re in the midst of a journey that’s challenging, you will enjoy the process of getting there a whole lot more if you cultivate a habit of looking for things to love in every step of the process, not just what you’ll love after the success is in the bag.
To put it a different way: five years from now, you’ll be living and breathing and experiencing “the present moment” the same way that you are experiencing this one right now, wherever you are.
If the process of “getting there” sucks, that’s just as bad as if the ending sucks, and it’s a sign to reevaluate your methods. Loving what you’ve got doesn’t make you less likely to improve what you’ll have later; in fact, it makes it much easier to make great strides toward success.
I want to help you shift your paradigm, so that while you’re striving and growing and reaching for new and better things, you’re also loving every minute of where you’re at, and fully soaking in the blessings you’ve already got.
This attitude shift is something I deeply want to share with you, and it’s the reason I created my email course, Love What You Have. If you need a shot of love for a journey that feels a little too bleak, take a look at the course outline here and consider joining the course.