For as long as I can remember, I’ve eagerly anticipated the “next best thing” in my life. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a teenager. When I was a teen, I wanted to be an adult. When I was dating, I couldn’t wait to be engaged. Now that I’m married, I want to buy a house. And, every so often, when I see Facebook friends announce their pregnancies or post cute pics of their little ones, I daydream about our future family.
And I’ve applied the same…ahem, ambition…to my career as well. When I was an intern, I couldn’t wait to be on the masthead. When I was a reporter, I wanted nothing more than to be an editor. When I became an editor, I said “just kidding” and switched to nonprofits. And now that I’m a media relations manager, I’m doing everything in my power to someday become a director.
Ever since my birthday, I’ve been mildly panicking (okay, like a lot) because I only have two more years to qualify for a “30 Under 30” list. Meanwhile, it seems like everybody and their mama made a recent “40 Under 40” list of women here in Chicago and I can’t help but wonder, “what about me?!”
Yes, I know the work that I’m doing to empower young women is more important than receiving recognition for it; however, the millennial in me would appreciate a pat on the back every once in a while. Or perhaps it’s panic that I haven’t accomplished anything worthy of said recognition. I’m not quite sure…
The point is I’ve never been satisfied with where I am and I’m always looking ahead instead of enjoying the moment. While listening to my new favorite podcast Joblogues (okay, the only podcast I listen to right now…hey, I’m new to this genre), one of the hosts, Cortney, talked about gratitude and remembering to “be content with the space in the middle and enjoy the ride.” Umm…how did she know my life?!
Cortney also mentioned how using a gratitude journal helped her focus on the here and now. It was the second time I’d heard someone reference a gratitude journal as a valuable resource (the first was while reading the latest Princess Diaries book on my honeymoon…don’t judge me), so I figured why not? At Cortney’s suggestion, I downloaded the Gratitude Journal App even though I don’t normally pay for apps (call me cheap), but I figured I’d spend at least $2.99 on a physical journal, so it was worth the investment.
The idea is to write down three to five things you’re grateful for every day and you can also add images. At the risk of sounding cliche, I immediately noticed a shift in my mindset. I began intentionally seeking things to be grateful for and realized “hey, my life’s not so bad after all. In fact, it’s pretty great.”
It’s so easy to take what we have for granted: our family, our friends, our significant others, our health. But it shouldn’t take a tragic event for us to take stock of how fortunate we really are. Count your blessings every day.
I may not be exactly where I want to be right now, but I’m learning to find fulfillment where I am. As my mom always tells me when I’m feeling less-than-stellar about my current situation, “what God has in store for you, nobody can take away.”
So here’s to being happy with the here and now and learning to enjoy the ride, even when it seems like we have a long way to go.