In conversations with friends, I often hear something like – ‘Once this is sorted out then…’ or ‘I need to figure out where I want to live/work/what I want to do, then…’ When we keep waiting for something to happen, to begin to live, how do we embrace the life we are living now?
For years of my life I struggled with this question – I was studying, but waiting to graduate; I was dating, but waiting to get married; I was working, but waiting to have the right job and be on the right career track ; I was always waiting to be at the right launching pad for my life to take off. Now I have an eight-year old. Sometimes, when we walk down the sidewalk, he says, “Let’s be rockets.” We count down “10 – 9 – 8 – 7 – 6 – 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 !” And then we take off – just like that. No complications, no waiting, no requirements. We take off down the sidewalk, dodging comets, visiting planets, and when we are ready for a break, we land back down on Earth.
My son came into my life to teach me. After he was born, with the enormous weight of responsibility I suddenly had in my arms, I also finally let go of all the other weight – I knew that I had a purpose that I couldn’t procrastinate on, I couldn’t waver on whether to continue with it day by day, and I couldn’t wait for a perfect moment – the moment was here – I needed to feed him, put him to sleep, or play with him and show him the wonders of the world. There was no waiting – the time would go by despite it and he would grow up, somehow. I needed to be here while that happened. These would be the days, however perfect or imperfect, that I would look back on someday as the days I had mothering my baby, toddler, child, adolescent, and adult son.
Over these past few years I realized that I didn’t need a child to enter my life to tell me that if I want to take off, that all I need to do is count backwards from 10 to 1 and start from where I am now. It’s always here, the path is always in front of us, we are moving along it one way or another. Our life is now and not something we can wait for. Sure, there are new jobs coming, perhaps new relationships, and somewhere new to live. But there’s no guarantee. So the fact is, we really don’t have the choice to wait for our life – what we do today is our life. It doesn’t matter if we spend the day fretting about the future or absorbing ourselves in the tasks at hand – when we look back, these will be the days we had.