I believe in staying in a regular state of inquiry, continually examining all the areas of my life as I change and grow. I ask myself: Am I making decisions based on what I value or because of some external pressure or influence? Are the thoughts that I have about something really true, and can I create space around them to let go of rigidity? Am I living my life with no regrets?
Earlier this week when I was cleaning up dinner, the boys appeared around the corner of the kitchen with goofy grins on their faces as they played together. I stopped for a moment just to watch them. To say a prayer of gratitude for their health and beauty. To breathe them all in.
And then a question came to my mind: Should I be spending more time with them? Am I missing out on their life as I pursue my own interests and career? Will I regret the decisions I am making one day? (I’m in my busiest quarter of work, so feelings like this tend to appear more often since my job requires a bit more time of me right now.)
But immediately I answered my own question. No. The time to be happy is now. Right now. Not when the kids are grown, not when I am retired, not when work slows down, not when changes happen in my life that I believe will make things easier. Right. Now. Now is the time to be happy.
For me, happiness feels like taking care of my physical and mental health, pursuing my goals and passions (on both a personal and career level), and spending quality time with my family and friends. If I drop one of these and say, I will pursue my goals when the kids are older, or, I will get in shape when my workload changes, this brings tension to my life. It pulls me away from happy. It empties my cup of wellness, which means that when I move through my days, I am running on empty and not giving my all to my life.
Now, I still make decisions based on the current status of my life. For example, I hang out with my kids on Halloween and New Years because they are young, these celebrations excite them to giddy, and they love this time with me. As my friend says, one day they’ll be older and want nothing to do with us on these holidays. So I choose to spend these festivities with my boys instead of going out with friends.
Yes, this choice has a timing factor associated with it. But the important thing is that it is my choice, and it isn’t being influenced by excuses. I want to spend this time with them. It is what makes me happy.
A critical factor in me being comfortable with my decision is that I continue to be in inquiry and question whether this is the truth or if I am making excuses. Too many of us make excuses tied to the circumstances of our lives that hold us back from what we really want. Like: I’ll wait to work out and take care of my body once my children are older. Or, I’ll start a hobby that interests me once I retire and have more time. Or, I’ll be happy once I get a new job, get married, or lose 10 pounds.
Today, I challenge you to drop your excuses. Eliminate the phrase, “I am going to do X, just as soon as Y happens.” If X is what you really want, don’t wait. Eliminate excuses and make it happen now. Even if you take a tiny step that only takes 5 minutes every day, you will see the happiness and satisfaction rise in your life. You will live with no regrets.
Pictures: Featured image at the top is at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, where I attended a women empowerment summit to support my personal goals earlier this fall. Second pic is my boys and I post-chocolate at their school Halloween party.
Now your turn. Journal on the following: