Wishing and Worrying Your Life Away
The world is really scary right now. From North Korea to hurricanes and mass shootings, I feel like I'm becoming numb to chaos because if I really sat down and digested it all, I might not leave my house.
I've spent the past week meditating on this. What is my role here? What is effective? What matters? What is a waste of energy?
I have this theory that I've been planning on blogging about and I feel like it parallels today's world, so here we go.
For years, I've lived by the "don't wish your life away" mantra. This means soaking in each present moment and not wishing it away, wanting the next step to come. It goes like this: Many of us spend our high school years wishing for the freedom of college, then spend our college years wishing for the end of tests, then spend our early career years wishing for the money to really start rolling in, then spend our higher income years wishing for retirement... At the end of your career, what do you want to remember? That you disliked every phase and were just tolerating it until the next step came? Only to tolerate that one?
Let's take it to another place - relationships. I have incredible girlfriends in all stages of relationships and love. A common situation: she meets the man of her dreams and spends the first few months of discovery and dating fixated on whether he wants to be her boyfriend, then spends the boyfriend/girlfriend years anxious about the possibility of a proposal, then spends the engaged months wishing they were just married already, then spends the early marriage years wishing they had kids.... You get it.
The thing is, wishing for the next thing doesn't make it come any faster. It just ruins the moment you're in.
When my girlfriends meet men and are stressing about getting to the next "step" I like to remind them that in relationships you never go backwards. You're never the hot, new, somewhat-mysterious girlfriend again. ENJOY.
So back to our world. I've been thinking about this concept as it relates to life today. And I know this isn't the first time fear has gripped a nation. A world. Just ask your parents, your grandparents, remember 9/11.
Just as I make a conscious choice not to wish my life away, I am now also choosing not to worry my life away. Worrying won't stop others from making their life choices. Worrying won't eradicate natural disasters. It will only rob today of its power. It will only displace energy that could be used for so many more meaningful and useful things. Does this mean I don't care about the lives lost at the concert in Vegas (and Paris...and London...) or the homes ruined by hurricane Irma? Absolutely not. But I know that worrying fixes nothing.
So I'm making two choices. First is to bring as much love and peace as I can to the space around me. Second is to become educated. I don't know much about gun control, but I'm going to learn. And maybe I can be part of the change.
How do I want to be remembered? As someone who worried and did nothing? Or as someone who talked, asked questions, read, learned and acted? The future will come. It's up to us what the journey looks like.