It is so easy to be discontent with our current situation and to romanticize our future lives, especially in the social media driven world we live in. We see beautiful faces and stunning homes and swoon worthy relationships filling those tiny squares while we live a life that seems so far removed from that. What we don’t see is the hard work and failed attempts at perfection.
I often find myself, when life is hard and things are messy, telling myself that I will be happy when…. fill in the blank. When I lose 10 pounds and my jeans fit, when I find that perfect guy, when I get that dream career or when my kids are older and I don’t feel so tired.
We all do it, we promise ourselves time will make our lives better and in the meantime we are missing out on our messy, beautiful lives.
My husband recently came home from a six month deployment and one thing I never wanted to do was put our lives on hold till he was home again. It was not that we didn’t miss him or didn’t wish he was home to do things with us but it was more of a feeling that our lives are a gift from God and waiting to be happy or waiting to do things that make your life worth living is a terrible way to show we are thankful.
Waiting to be happy or to enjoy your life based on people or circumstances is a easy way to set yourself up for disappointment. Spoiler Alert, those things can not make you happy, not for long anyway.
After my husband came home, we as a family were on cloud nine just enjoying having our favorite person home again. It didn’t take long for life to set in and things to get messy, chores pile up and social commitments kept pouring in and all I could think was, “This is so far from what I had imagined after six months apart.”
Thankfully, that is not where my thoughts ended. I ended up thinking about how difficult life can be but how thankful I am to have someone by my side who wants to share it all. I thought about how fun it was to receive handwritten letters in the mail over the last six months and how creating care packages is a art form if done right. I thought about how my daughters learned that life doesn’t stop when Dad leaves but how sweet it is when he is home again helping wash the car and catch the dogs running down the street again.
Youth seem to be in perpetual state of wanting to be older and more mature. High school seems to be a ridiculously fun experience when you’re age twelve looking in as a soon to be insider.
I also vividly remember thinking that when I was in college I would be basically an adult and that 30 was so old and by then I would really have my whole life figured out. I laugh now because my life is so different than when I was in college and I’ve learned that thirty is not old, and college was so much easier than real life.
I think what I really want to share with anyone who believes that life will be better later but not right now, is that life is a beautiful adventure worth living right now. Don’t wait till you have the perfect family or best girls friends or amazing hair (P.S., Younger Me, your hair won’t ever be perfect, give up on that dream and embrace the messy curls).
Go outside and live life now not one spent dreaming about your future and have dreams but also don’t forget to live them.
Ashleigh Rood is an East Coast transplant and currently a San Diego East County resident. She is a military wife, mother to three girls and founder of Rosy Sunset.