I spent much of my life looking about five steps ahead of me, always planning my next move without ever actually experiencing or enjoying what was happening right at that specific moment.
Perhaps it's because I'm getting older (and my kids are getting older), but I've decided that focusing on today is not just the healthier choice, but also the happier one too.
Many of the reasons I would always look to the future, at least as a kid, was because my "present" was really hard. Being a step ahead saved me, in a way, from all the bad things that were going on in my life.
The problem was that I continued to use that escape as I got older, when things were actually pretty awesome, when I had amazing opportunities right in front of me. Instead of basking in them, I just got through it all so I could get to the next thing.
Don't get me wrong. The future planning got me ahead in a lot of ways, especially academically and professionally.
But personally, well, that was a whole other story. Whenever you're looking ahead in a relationship, you can miss a lot of great stuff happening now, but also the bad stuff -- the stuff you let slide because you see a light at the end of the tunnel.
Who cares if there are major road blocks along the way? I'm going to get to the end, dammit!
When you stop to smell the proverbial roses and maneuver through the road blocks, you actually get a better sense of who you are and what you like and don't like. You also figure out if what you're doing is really right for you.
You even get to have a little fun along the way!
Having kids has made all this easier, because in the blink of an eye, your children go from crawling to walking to talking. And if you don't take the time to really experience it all, you just miss it.
And you don't ever get it back.
This new attitude has really changed how I parent my kids. And it's starting to change how I see all my other relationships too.
Your personal life, your professional life, your parenting life ... yes, they can all be challenging. And certainly, you're allowed to bitch and complain, to look ahead because sometimes looking right in front of you is too hard to do.
But there's something to be said for making yourself live all the moments exactly as they come to you rather than looking past them. Who knows what you might be missing if you don't? There could be a whole heck of a lot of good right there for the taking.
What's your outlook on life and does it affect what kind of a parent you are?
Image via JoeInSouthernCA/Flickr