Focus too much on what you thought or hoped would be, and you risk missing the beauty and joy of what is.
Find the above quotation to be inspirational? Well, you can thank me because I made it up. Or I think I made it up, anyway. More likely than not, someone or several someones significantly more profound than me already uttered a similar sentiment, if not almost those exact words. While I'm aware that it probably is arrogant at best to quote oneself for inspiration, I think the idea behind these words is pretty important.
When I was in my twenties I spent a lot of time worrying and fretting. Would I be successful in my career? When would I get married? Would I get married at all? How would I meet the man I'd marry? JEEZ. I get tired just thinking about all that fretting. For the record, I have done quite well in my career, and at 40 years old, I have never been married. Sometimes I feel sad about my marital status, but other times I am just fine with it and at other times am quite happy about it, frankly.
So exactly what did all that worrying do for me? One could argue that worrying made me work harder for my career success, but I doubt that. I've always worked hard, and I enjoy what I do, so it rarely feels like work, anyway. Another justifying thought is that the twenties are an insecure time for many people, and worrying is pretty normal. Fair enough. However, I truly believe all that worrying did absolutely nothing for me. No wait, I do think it made me miss out on at least a little bit of the carefree fun that can fill the decade right after college.
I had this revelation about my behavior and mental state in my twenties about ten years ago and decided that one of the very few regrets I have is not having more fun back then. Well, recently, I discovered that old habits die hard. I don't worry nearly as much as I used to, and I am very well grounded and do appreciate all the good things in my life. However, sometimes I find myself focusing on what I thought my life would like at this point (the aforementioned marriage, the children I thought I'd have even though I never have been really super certain I wanted kids), and I realize that I when I do that, I turn a blind eye what's going on in the moment.
I don't know about yours, but my life is really, really fun, and I don't want to miss a minute of it because I'm focusing on the fact that I haven't yet had and may never have opportunity to spend years changing diapers or negotiating house chores with a roommate to whom I'm legally bound (and yes, presumably in love with). Don't get me wrong, I'd still like to get married one day, and I have nothing against children, but until then, why not enjoy all that I already have and let the future work itself out?
Wise words for today and everyday, I hope.
(By the way, I hope this post doesn't come off as overly self-righteous or annoying; that's not generally my style or intent.)