There I go again, constantly thinking about my next stage of life. The stage where I finally get my dream job, have a BIG steady income, and get to move into a nice house and go on exotic vacations with my family. It’s the American dream and it’s what a lot of us hope for, work towards, and if you’re like me, worry about.
It’s good to have goals and work towards achieving those goals. But what’s funny about us constantly thinking about our hopes and dreams for the future is that we may miss out on the little things in our lives that are the most meaningful. Moments like the ones below that continually remind us what’s most important.
Like the time I came home a few weeks ago after a long day of work and my fiancé was sleeping on the couch. She looked so beautiful and so peaceful and I just couldn’t stop watching her. Now I’ve seen my fiancé sleeping on the couch like this hundreds of times before but because my mind was usually consumed with anxious thoughts, I may have missed the beauty in those moments.
Or the moment I had yesterday in the elevator after leaving the dentist. As I walked in the elevator, my mind was racing 100 miles an hour with all kinds of crazy thoughts. About dinner, my wedding, the future. But as I walked in, I noticed a beautiful elderly woman in a motorized wheelchair. She was maybe 75 years old and obviously handicapped. She immediately greeted me with a smile and said hello. She then asked me how I was doing, which I responded back with, “I’m doing good, just left the dentist. How are you doing?” She then told me that she was leaving an appointment with her doctor and she got “Fantastic News!” She may be able to have knee surgery that will allow her to walk again, something she’s wanted to do for many years. As she’s telling me this I couldn’t help but notice the amount of joy she was feeling from getting this good news from her doctor. After saying our goodbyes I started walking to my car and couldn’t help but feel so selfish. Here I am – my mind occupied with how to be more successful - and all this lady wants is to be able to walk again. Something I take for granted every single day.
Or the time at Baylor Medical center in Dallas. The year was 2011 and my mom was receiving treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It was a tough time and she was very ill, so her doctor had her stay in the hospital where she was for almost 5 months straight. She wasn’t able to do the things she normally loved to do like go outside and garden, go on vacation, or go to the grocery store. Instead, she was bed ridden in a hospital room with nothing to do but watch TV, eat hospital food, and look out of a small window to the outside world. But one day she asked me to go down to the street to whole foods and get her some soup that she liked. What Mama wants, Mama Gets, so I grabbed my keys and went to get the soup. When I got back to the hospital I remember walking up to the main entrance and seeing my mom being pushed in a wheelchair by her nurse. She had her robe on, sunglasses over her eyes, and her beautiful bald head was shining from the sun. She didn’t notice me walking up because her eyes were looking straight up to the sky, something she hadn’t done for almost 6 months. I couldn’t help but smile and when I finally got close to her I said, “Whatcha doing mama?” She looked at me, smiled, and said, “Just enjoying how good the sun feels. Did you get my soup?!?” We stayed outside, ate the soup, and enjoyed the beauty of the sun, a gift that so many of us, especially myself, take for granted.
Now I still find myself obsessing about the future and what I can do to get me closer to my dreams. But because of these moments I’ve talked about, I’m quickly reminded to enjoy the little things in life. These are moments that we take for granted, but others hope and pray for. Let’s stop obsessing over the things we think are the most meaningful or fulfilling and instead let’s take more time to look at the person we love and realize how lucky we are to have them. Let’s remember to take a break from our work and just go out for a walk, take a breath, and use the healthy bodies that we so often take for granted. And lastly, the next time you’re complaining about being bored, go outside, look up at the sun and remember that there are so many people who wish they could feel that sunlight just one more time.