Too many of us don’t view life in a positive way as often as we should. Sometimes we view it as a list of never-ending goals and accomplishments that we feel will bring us happiness and fulfillment. I am guilty of this. It’s one of my biggest weaknesses and worst bad habits. Especially since I am still in a transitional period within my life. I think to myself “When I finally get a decent job, then I’ll be happy.” But when I really look back on my life I’ve always viewed things this way in some form or another.
First I was being anxious to get out of high school in order to experience the freedom of being a college student away from home for the very first time. Then I eventually became tired of spending 4 1/2 years being a college student and wanted to make my way in the world. It was even present after I graduated. I wanted desperately to move out and find a job. I rushed my most serious romantic relationship at the time instead of enjoying every moment with a woman I loved deeply. Her and I shared many happy memories. But we could’ve shared so many more had I not panicked. I should’ve just slowed my mind down, relaxed, and realized that being with her showed me glimpses of what true happiness in a romantic relationship looked like.
Why do some people feel that reaching a certain goal or destination constitutes happiness? I’ve never understood that, even though I still find myself thinking this way. It does nothing but rob us of our peace of mind. And it doesn’t let us focus on the joys that the current moment could bring, if we only slow down and take them in. I’m sure there are many people who go through life like this, which is very sad. They search for true fulfillment and happiness, and never find it. While completely missing that it’s right in front of their nose!
One person who doesn’t live life like this, is my good friend Slade (I talk about him in an earlier blog post, “The Importance of Family and Friends Pt. 2”). He truly seems to be enjoying his life. Some people, like my sister Christy are very goal-oriented and driven. What I always like to call a Type A personality. Slade seems to be the true definition of a Type B personality. He still works very hard at what he does, but he tries to be more relaxed and in the moment. After all, moments are all we really have in life, right? If we don’t learn to enjoy them while they’re here, we can never get them back.
Slade doesn’t seem to let his job search and other life circumstances bother him like I often do. He works hard at the search, and then allows himself time to socialize with friends, or time to enjoy his hobbies like watching sports, Korean dramas or anime shows. He truly is a Type B personality: productive, yet not rushing life and being present in each moment.
I know I want to be a Type B personality. I love it when I can slow my mind down and fully immerse myself in whatever I am doing at that particular moment of my life. But I often find myself ashamed of being more laid back, and so I feel like I have to measure my worth by the amount of tasks I get done, or by the amount of goals I accomplish. And if I don’t accomplish every one of my goals for the day, it bugs me. It sometimes makes me feel as though I’ve wasted my time. I beat myself up royally.
Slade has figured out a new philosophy for his life that I am inspired by, and that I greatly admire him for: “Try to enjoy your life as much as you can. Appreciate your past but don’t dwell on the bad stuff. Live in the now, but prepare for the future.”
He’s in the exact same position I’m in. Single, living alone and looking for work. But yet he seems truly happy. He’s living his best life. I’m still struggling to do that. I need to follow his lead and learn to do the same. And that starts with being happy with what I currently have, and by realizing all I’ve accomplished in life.
Slade has always been a great listener as a friend. He’s listened to me in both my best and worst times. But he’s never struck me as one to give advice that hits me so profoundly. That’s not taking anything away from him. He’s just never really been one of the advice givers I go to in my life. I vent and talk to him when I want someone to commiserate or celebrate with me. But I usually go to my parents, or two other close friends, Tony and Alex when I want advice. But when advice like what I learned last night DOES come from Slade, I listen.
We all could use moments where advice comes to us from places where we least expect it. And we could all learn to try to live our best lives from seeing close friends living their best lives. Instead of being envious, whenever we see people truly living life to the fullest, we should think “Okay. How can I get there? They’re where I want to be. They know or realize something that I don’t. What can I learn?” I learned from Slade last night. Thank you, old friend. Love you 🙂
I leave you with this question: What are some of the best pieces of advice on life that friends have ever given you? I really am interested in hearing what people have to say. We could all learn from each other!