I have spent so much of my life waiting.
Waiting to be someone else, to be living the next chapter of my life.
For as long as I can recall, I have always been looking ahead, waiting to shed the current layer of my identity in order to become another, better version of myself.
I have been waiting to feel like I have arrived. That each and every part of my life that I segment into compartments, will finally be neatly organized, and I’ll be a more tender, thinner, accomplished version of myself. And this new and improved version would mark the point when my life would really begin.
But after all this waiting – decades, in fact – I can see now that so often I did arrive, but I didn’t always take the time to appreciate how far I had travelled. I’d already moved on, picked the next destination and in my hurry to get there, I would frequently neglect to enjoy the journey.
So here I am. Waiting to become the person I always wanted to be, whilst simultaneously moving through the chapters of my life at breakneck speed.
I have always loved stories about A Big Life Change. I consume books like Elizabeth Gilbert’s, Eat, Pray, Love as though starved for words. So much of my reading takes predictable turns towards anything about fresh starts and the release of daily concerns. I clutch onto other people’s stories, saving blog posts and tearing pages from magazines, evidence that what I want is possible. My dream is another person’s reality! I wait for my time to come.
And so the days pass, and when the monotony of routine and all those ‘must dos’ – that I never seem to get around to – threaten to overwhelm me, I think about how things will be different, in the future. On those days I joke with my husband about moving to Mexico to live by the sea. Everything will be better when we move to the next chapter.
Yet I’ve come to understand that my real desire to be someone and somewhere else is so that I can leave the bits of me that I don’t like behind. It’s so easy to think that if we run away, we don’t have to take the unwanted pieces of ourselves, but it’s not true. The location may be different – but me, the person I am right now – I will still be the same. Nothing will change unless I do.
I’ve also realized that whilst I’ve been yearning to be someone else, life in all its richness is going on around me. I don’t want my future self to look back with regret on a life continuously spent waiting for “a big life change” that would finally jolt me out of my daily routine and into another life. The life I always believe is just in front of me.
So, I no longer wait to be someone else. I no longer cling to other people’s stories and put things on hold until that time when my life will really begin. Instead, I choose this day, this chapter and to make each and every moment precious in its own way. I savor the journey, rather than focusing on the destination.