8.0 Editor's Pick
June 25, 2024

Why We need to Stop Waiting for Something to Happen to Enjoy our Lives.

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 “For a long time, it had 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, or a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last, it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.” ~ Alfred D. Souza

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I recently came across an old photo album from when I was in my 20s. All these snippets of my life back then—going out clubbing, those harsh Canadian winters, walking in the back field with my dog, hanging out at my uni campus, watching live music at my favourite outdoor festival.

I remember it all so well. It felt like that time of my life would never end. It just went on forever. I remember how I was always craving something bigger and better than little old Ottawa. Wasn’t life meant to cooler and more exciting?

Everyone told me my 20s would be the best years of my life. I felt so much pressure to live up to these expectations. And now here I am staring at these photos with years of perspective. I’ve lived in two different countries since then and travelled to countless more. I’ve married and had two kids. Now it’s all just a memory, contained neatly inside a heavy photo album. It reminds me of this quote above and how in those days I was always waiting for something. That one thing to make life exciting. But that was it—life was happening, even in the waiting.

It reminds me of where I am now. Deep in the trenches of motherhood and so incredibly sleep deprived. I feel waves of guilt that I’m not enjoying every minute of it. Everyone tells me I must, it ends all too soon. Social media blares: Enjoy every minute! You only have X more summers left before your kids move out!

I can already see myself many years from now looking at photos from this moment. These days right now that pass like thick mud. Where my baby learns to clap her hands, and sit up without support, and crawl around to locate every last crumb on the floor. The days when my toddler is piecing together the words to express how she feels more and more. Every day something new. The days when a shower is a luxury. When I wake up feeling jet-lagged, like I’m on a perpetual flight, without ever arriving anywhere. The days when I’ve gone beyond my limit again. And again. These days when I find myself falling into this trap, of wishing things were a bit easier, and then I could really enjoy myself.

Then I remember this is normal. It’s normal to yearn for things to be different when they feel hard. It’s normal to compare. It’s normal to feel so much in this highly saturated digital and addictive world. Not every day is amazing. Not for any human on this earth. Despite what social media shows us.

Perhaps instead of being told we need to enjoy every minute of motherhood or our youth or whatever it is—maybe we should instead tell each other to be present as much as we can. To be a full participant in our lives. Whether it’s good or bad, or annoying or underwhelming, or not quite reaching our expectations in some way. Perhaps it’s better to make it a practice to show up and be fully engrossed in that moment. To practice accepting that this is your life, right now. Even if just for a moment.

I say practice because I don’t think it’s possible to be completely present all the time. Naturally, there will be times we search for our phones in need of mindless distraction. Naturally, on tough days, we will long for weekends, or vacations, or some escape from the mundanity. In these moments, it’s just as important to practice forgiveness for not always enjoying everything. For being human.

It’s important to remind ourselves from time to time of the blatant obviousness that there is no destination. That the only destination we’re heading toward is our death. Or old age, if we’re so lucky. For most of us, life is a series of ordinary moments strung together. The more we spend chasing the extraordinary, we miss what’s in front of us.

So, here’s your reminder to stop waiting for something to happen for you to enjoy your life. Wherever you may be on your journey, may you show up wholeheartedly.

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