“It’s not uncommon for people to spend their whole life waiting to start living” -Eckhart Tolle
For the past six months or so, I’ve been working my way through a book called The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. After reading A New Earth first (at my mom’s great recommendation), I was so moved and struck by Tolle’s advocacy for the idea of living in the present and freeing yourself from what he calls “the ego,” I wanted to read more.
In one of the chapters Tolle said the above quote and I literally dropped the book in my lap. I think I’ve been one of the people the most guilty of sitting around waiting for my life to start. Tolle goes on to say that people stop living in the present because they’re waiting for a future moment to happen to make them fully happy. I wonder how many times I’ve found myself being anxious or stressed because I just want some moment in the future to happen. How many times I’ve found myself saying “Once that happens, then it’ll all be ok.” As someone with a disability, unfortunately I think I put even more pressure on myself to wait for this and that. Because I wasn’t happy with myself or my situation, I thought other things might “fix” my life or make things better if they just happened. If my skin just cleared up, once I got to college, once I got that “perfect” job, once I had a boyfriend…the list goes on and on.
I think we’re all guilty of this in one way or another. I think society kind of grooms us to be this way in some respects. Once we have the career, the house, the spouse, the family…that’s when happiness will be achieved. So we sit around and wait and don’t always enjoy what’s happening to us right now…all the wonderful things that might be happening in this moment. We look at happiness as a destination that can be achieved in the future instead of something that’s a journey and something we can feel in this moment if we just try and enjoy what’s happening right now.
I think this is something I may always struggle with but at least now I recognize what I was doing so when I find my mind drifting from the present and wanting to feel anxious because something in the future hasn’t happened yet, I can put myself check and get back to enjoying what’s happening right now cause there really are so many great things happening now that require no “waiting.” I like my job, I work with great people, I have amazing friends, I couldn’t ask for better parents, I have a roof over my head and food on the table every day. Yeah there may be some things on that list I don’t have but why make ourselves miserable focusing on what’s missing, thereby not appreciating what we do have.
I think this will be my New Years Resolution for many years to come: stop waiting and start living!