How Rushing to the Future Can Ruin The Present

(Originally written and published on xoNecole.)

A good thing happened. After three years of blogging on my own platform, I was asked to become a contributing writer for xoNecole. I couldn’t believe that my ‘side hustle’ was finally manifesting itself into a paid gig. And the best part: I’d be impacting even more women than I was on my own side of the internet. It was a dream come true. 

I had a few glasses of wine and a steak dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, and the next night stepped out with my sorors, to celebrate. But shortly after, my excitement faded. Not because the opportunity wasn’t amazing anymore, but because my mind stared racing about what I could conquer next.

I had previously talked myself into believing that my credibility and worth as a writer was dictated by how many media platforms I had in my byline. This was the first, so I had to figure out what was next. If not the next site I’d contribute to, the next pitch I’d submit.

In doing so, however, I never gave myself the chance to enjoy this accomplishment. I was so concerned with rushing to my next goal, that I hadn’t taken time to truly sit in the one I had just achieved. I was ready to hurry off to my next destination without having even put enough footing in this one.

This wasn’t the first time this has happened to me. I’ve been known for allowing my excitement to push me right past the present and into the future. I do it with everything, though — jobs, relationships, my own self-discovery. I reach one milestone and immediately hurry off to the next. “I got a new job, now I must get a higher paying one.” “I’m in a relationship, now I must get engaged.”

I get so consumed with crossing off items on my checklist, that I never fully embrace or enjoy any current moment. Living like that put me in a perpetual state of doing. Not growing, not living — just doing. 

What kind of life is it to constantly rush to next so quickly that I can’t enjoy the now?  

I’m not the only person I know who operates in this way; perhaps if I was, this post wouldn’t be necessary. So many of us commit ourselves to moving through our goals that we rarely have time to celebrate the ones we’ve already achieved. We don’t allow ourselves the time to bask in the greatness, or in the lessons, of our current place because we’re in such a hurry to get to the next one. Many of us rush – or worse, minimize – our accomplishments in pursuit of our next big moment. We get high off achieving things, despite never allowing ourselves a moment to enjoy those achievements.

We do ourselves a true disservice by constantly chasing what’s next.

What we have will never be good enough if we’re constantly looking for what’s better, what’s new, or what’s next. If you never allow yourself time to settle in to what you have or what you’ve accomplished, you will never be satisfied. You will be so consumed by the constant pursuit, that you will miss everything that is already in front of you. You’ll dismiss everything you’ve already accomplished and all the work you’ve already put in.

This isn’t to encourage you to stay stagnant or get comfortable, it is to offer the suggestion to give yourself a moment to enjoy who you are, what you are, and where you are in every given moment.

Stillness is a necessary behavior for the pursuit, process, and preparation of all good things. It’s critical to stop running on the hamster wheel of “what’s next” and to, instead, bury yourself in joy, gratitude, and thanksgiving for what’s already been done. It’s imperative that you take time to truly enjoy your ‘right now’ moments and honor yourself for them. Take time to learn the lessons they offer and the preparation they provide. Good or bad, take time to find pieces of yourself in the journey you’re currently on (it’s a marathon, not a sprint). And allow yourself time to relish in what is, before rushing to what’s next.