Throughout my life, I’ve often found myself feeling like life is about to start.
When I was in middle school, I thought life would really start once I was in high school. When I was in high school, I thought life would really start once I was in college. When I was in college, I thought life would really start once I had graduated. When I graduated, I thought life would really start once I had secured a job and rented an apartment. When I secured a job and rented an apartment, I thought life would really start once I met “the one.” When I met Riley, I thought life would really start once we got engaged. When we got engaged, I thought life would really start once we got married. When we got married, I thought life would really start once we bought a house. Now we’re in a house, and I find myself thinking that life will really start once we have a baby, travel to X location, find a great community, move to a new place, etc.
This line of thinking is insane. Life has already started!
There’s no milestone or event that will make life really start. Life has started. It’s going! I can’t make my life any more real than it is today by accomplishing something, meeting someone, or going somewhere. Life has already started.
It boils down to contentment
On pondering this further, I’ve come to realize that this feeling of life being about to start reveals a deeper issue: contentment. When I am content, my life and thoughts don’t revolve around what’s coming next because I’m actively thankful for where I am.
According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of contentment is: the quality or state of being contented.
The same source notes the definition of contented as: feeling or showing satisfaction with one’s possessions, status, or situation.
Over lunch the other day, I brought this topic up with Riley and asked him if he’d ever thought about life in this way. His exact response? “I think I’m like a dog. I’m just happy all the time so I never really think about the future, I just think about how happy I am right now.” I laughed and thought that’s the definition of contentment. Upon further investigation, it literally is.
How to avoid “life’s about to start” syndrome
If there were one simple and easy way to stop the constant forward-looking, I’d write a book about it and sell a million copies. The truth is, contentment is a daily choice. It’s every day, looking at life and being thankful for it, exactly as it is. Gratitude doesn’t require perfection or completion. We can choose to be thankful and content now even as we look forward to what the future holds. We can choose to be content through challenging circumstances and situations. Contentment is a personal, daily choice.
“…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” -Philippians 4:11-13, NIV
As a Christian, I find great contentment through my faith. Because I know God holds my future, I can trust Him and be grateful for where I am in life right now. Because life isn’t about to start–it already has.
// Do you ever feel like life is about to start? How do you ground yourself in contentment? I would love to hear your thoughts on this!
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