Where are we? Do the days ever matter anymore?
Have I lost count? Yes.
When? I don’t remember. Probably around the time that I realized that it wasn’t about the days anymore, it wasn’t about counting down as if day 1000 was the goal. That day 1000 may never come just as tomorrow may never come as just as planning for the future keeps us facing the future, you cant place the future on a pedestal as being the point. Because it isn’t the point.
Now is the point. Just now.
Before I realized this I would only tolerate the now seeing it as an annoyance, an obstacle I had to somehow overtake so I could finally claim everything that I knew was waiting for me in the future.
All that happiness, all those good times, all the pay off for all of the ‘now’ I had to put up with….
I’m being serious and I think we humans do it a lot. If I wasn’t happy it was ok because I was going to be happy ‘in the future’ If I wasn’t living how I wanted to live it was ok because I was going to do so ‘in the future’ I didn’t feel ok about who I was because I would be confident ‘in the future’
I don’t remember when this mentality started changing for me but it was recent and it has been everything.
The future wasn’t sure I realized. All that happiness and confidence and resolve to do things better that I had pinned to some future date on the calendar made me apathetic in my present. Perhaps it even made me lazy, procrastinating the worst thing you can procrastinate with: My own peace.
Goals and dreams are a positive thing, but like most things that are initially positive, I corrupted my dreams by expecting too much of their realization.
I have a dream of graduating from university with a nursing degree, which in itself is positive. Education is positive, working in a field I love is positive, wanting to accomplish something that is challenging is positive but I began pinning more expectations on that one dream than the dream itself could carry: When I graduate I will be happy, when I graduate I will be accomplished, when I graduate I will start living how I want to live.
The dream went from being something to walk towards to being the reason I wasn’t yet happy, accomplished or living…Because it hadn’t yet been realized.
When I took that healthy goal and made it into the future moment where all the things I was unsatisfied with would be resolved, I let myself off the hook to be accountable for why they weren’t resolved now.
I did it with many things. I did it with my body: When I am such and such weight I will be happy and beautiful. When I have crossed off 1000 single days then I will be accomplished, when the future comes I will start living….It was as if the only reason I was alive today was to get to some place in my future. Again: I was tolerating my present, accusing it and neglecting it.
But that mindset is not right. It’s a lie. It’s a thief! It robbed me of any sense of satisfaction or peace for the place I was standing right now, right here.
I love the way Tom Stoppard describes it: “Because children grow up, we think a child’s purpose is to grow up. But a child’s purpose is to be a child’
I used to consider the purpose of now being only for the sake of the future. What I realize now is that life isn’t scheduled to begin when I have decided it will begin, I cant hold some unfulfilled dream, some yet to realize goal, some yet to arrive date in the future as being accountable for the reason I am unhappy or not enjoying the life I hoped I would live, and not only because tomorrow may never come, but because life doesn’t come in tides.
As you may have read in the heart of life is good, I was initially devastated by the fact that my graduation was to be delayed by one year. Why? Because I saw the life I wanted to live, my sense of accomplishment, my happiness as having been delayed by a year because that’s where I had it all scheduled: Graduation day.
What a tragic waste of all those days which I lived only for the sake that it bought me closer to that future date.
I was devaluing my present. I was resenting it, biding my time for that moment where I would finally start living. But what if graduation never comes? Because it may not you know. Monday is never a sure thing friends and while our hope for it spurs us in its direction, the moment we begin relying on it for more than what it is we lose the value of this moment, which is the only thing we are guaranteed.
In a few days I will be getting on a plane to go home to New Zealand. We are currently sleeping in a holiday home I rented short term and nothing in this home belongs to me. Everything my two sons and I own can fit into a large suitcase. In other words: I am essentially homeless and have less shiny possessions than most keen eyed crows. When we arrive I have no plans other than to see my friends, my mother and my sisters. The reason being: I miss them all. I could have stayed here and worked all summer. That would have meant more money to do more of the things I want to do but all I want to do right now, and all I ever really want to do is see my family and play over at my friend house and when I asked myself point blank whether I was happy and I answered that I was not, I then asked what makes me happy.
My friends and my family do.
That then because the most important thing to do. Right now. Right here: Vanessa, go home.
Keep pointed in the direction of your future but stop and ask yourself: are you happy? Are you mate? ARE YOU HAPPY?
If you are not happy then what makes you happy? Figure it out and then do that. Keep studying if studying makes you happy and/or if the job you will gradate into will make you happy but don’t endure unhappiness because you have it all scheduled to arrive at the end of the rainbow AKA: the future. That’s believing in Santa Clause and we’re adults so we should stop make believing our way out of our nagging restlessness and discontentment and face up to the fact that if we aren’t happy NOW and don’t feel proud of the life we lead NOW then we could be gambling with the most precious equity we have: Our own peace, in a game where the stakes are just too high.
Provided March 2014 comes I will return to University to begin the last year of my studies and I look forward to it. Provided I live until March 14th 2015 I will release myself to date again if I want to, and I look forward to it, but I don’t have any more expectation of my graduation or my ability to date again other than I will have a degree and I might meet a man I will love. I cant expect those events to grant me peace or happiness if I am not at peace or happy now because if I die without graduating what does it matter? If I die without marrying again, what does it matter? If I die without peace or without happiness, then that will be the greatest tragedy and as Monday may not come, I had to take the responsibility of it all off the shoulders of future Vanessa and put it back in the hands on now. Vanessa now.
In case you were curious it has been 514 days. In case you were wondering I have been faithful to the promise and how do I feel about it all now that I have over 500 days to reflect back on? It has been the best thing I have ever done. I stopped counting the days because it stopped being a countdown. I realized I was so content being alone, so capable of being alone that it became a a way of life for me and one that allows me the space to meditate on the things that are important to me, chew over questions I had set aside for the rainy days and find a real peace in solitude because who knows how long I will be alone for, and even after I fall in love, who knows how long that love will last. The only thing I am sure of is that I will be stuck with me for the rest of my life and it sure has been a pleasure getting to know who I am.