There are many times where I have to remind myself to take a step back and to give myself a bit of a reality check. I am a person who LOVES to look ahead. I’m excited. I want to know what the future is going to entail and I want to make the most of it. But admittingly, I sometimes allow that image of how I want my life to look in the future to stop me from fully living in the present. I think we all do this to some extent.
How many times have you told yourself that “I will be happy when I have a certain amount of money” or “I’ll be happy once I finally achieve the goals that I have for myself”? This is exactly the kind of thinking that I am talking about. But when you think about it, we are essentially telling ourselves that we don’t deserve to be happy until we achieve whatever that goal looks like – we don’t deserve to be happy until we amount to “more.” How crazy is that?
The truth is, we are lucky to get eighty years on this planet. Eighty years and then we are gone… forever. We deserve to be happy each and every day of our lives. Not just when we achieve something, but every day. Who knows if tomorrow will come. Who knows if we will be alive in a year. Who knows if we will be chasing the same goals and dreams next month. Live for today and not for the future because the future is never guaranteed.
Society and the social norms have done an excellent job of supporting the belief that we should live for the future. We are taught to work now and save as much money as we can for retirement. We are taught to invest into our 401k now so that we can have access to that money later. We are told to work and to embrace the suck now so that we can do whatever we want in life after the age of 65.
Have you ever thought about the possibility of if that day never comes? What if something happens to you before then where you are either not on this earth any longer or don’t have access to the investments you are told to make for your future? Would it have been worth it to completely disregard the life you are living now for that future life?
I’m not saying you shouldn’t invest into your future, or that you should go out right now and blow all of your money because you are going to die tomorrow. None of us know when we are going to die or what our future is going to entail, and that’s the whole point.
To me, it doesn’t make sense that we would pass up on opportunities in the present only to hope that we are gifted the same (or better) opportunities in the future.
Still, I know it’s a lot easier said than done because as I said, I am somebody who will still plan for the future and forget to embrace the present moment. And this is where we have to be mindful of our lives. This is when we have to recognize what it is that we want out of life and question if it is truly worth it to pass up on the present moment.
Every moment that we are unhappy is another moment of our lives that we are losing to sadness or to the uncertainty that is the future. Happiness should be something that we strive for on a daily basis, not dependant upon some external factor. And sure, there are always going to be things that influence and impact our happiness, but no matter what, we will always have the power of perception.
Today, I want to do something a little bit different. I just want to talk about different ways that we can all find happiness in our lives and how we can start to live for today and not for the future.
Live For Today Not For the Future
Gratitude is a brilliant way to find happiness in the present moment. Take a moment to be intentional about your thoughts, focus on all of the good that already fills your life, and simply be grateful for all of the blessings that already consume your life instead of focusing on what more you want.
It could be that you woke up to a sunny day, that you had the luxury of going to the gym and getting in a workout before work, that you woke up to the smell of a fresh pot of coffee being made, or that you lived to see another day in general.
There is so much to be grateful for. Even in the midst of negativity, there are far more positives that fill your life. You just need to be willing to look for them.
Think about what is good in your life and be aware of the life and of the moment you are living right this very moment.
Again, be intentional. Take a moment and remind yourself to slow down and soak in all that is around you instead of constantly keeping your head down trying to propel your way into the future. Think about what you can do today to make today the best day of your life.
There are always going to be things that we don’t necessarily want to do, but instead of seeing them as negatives, try to focus on seeing them as an opportunity. We don’t want to go to work, but we are fortunate enough to have a job and the ability to. We don’t want to workout, but we are fortunate enough to have the privilege and ability to do so, etc.
If you are just feeling down and depressed, focus on doing more of the things that make you happy. Everybody has things that they enjoy doing, so start doing more of them.
Mindfulness is everything. It’s about being aware of where you are in the present moment, accepting whatever has happened in your past, and allowing whatever happens in your future to happen. It’s about engaging in your surroundings, being aware of the environment that you are in, and cherishing this moment for the blessing that it is.
Don’t get so caught up in trying to live a better life in the future that you forget to live the one that you are blessed to already have. Savor every moment as if it is going to be your last, and when you catch yourself living up in your head again, bring yourself back.
It’s not always easy, but the more you prioritize being mindful, the better you will become at it.
We are living the greatest gift known to man. The odds of becoming human are one in four-hundred-trillion. Yes, you read that correctly. We have already won the lottery, so it’s time that we quit trying to push our luck even further to the point where we forget to cherish what it is that we already have.
Live for today and not for the future, because the future isn’t guaranteed.