I have spent my entire life uttering the phrase “I can’t wait until _______”
I can’t wait until college.
I can’t wait until graduation.
I can’t wait until I can quit this job.
I can’t wait until I’m a full-time writer.
I can’t wait for a house, for a relationship, for trips, for my big break.
Just this past week I realized how detrimental this phrase has been in my life. It has given me permission to shift all of my focus onto some far-off point in the future instead of on all the great things that are going on in my life right now.
Because every time I say that “I can’t wait” for something, I’m saying that what I have right now isn’t good enough. That the things that are in my life are not enough to make me happy, and that I won’t be happy until I am in that big moment, far off in the future. But of course, I won’t be happy there, either. Because I’ll be saying “I can’t wait,” to the next thing, over and over again, on and on for the rest of my life.
Furthermore, I’m telling myself that I’m not willing to have these things unless I have them rightthissecond. Important things are worth patience, are worth time, are worth waiting for. And the truth is, I can wait. I have my entire life in front of me.
Not to mention the fact that when I utter this particular phrase, I tend to put a lot of pressure on whatever the thing I’m hoping to get is. I do this all the time with trips. I put all this pressure on a trip to be everything I’m dreaming about and then, in the end, I am stressed and disappointed because things didn’t go the way I wanted them to. It’s the trips where I let go of expectations, where I just let things happen, that are the most enjoyable.
Last weekend, I took a magical overnight trip to Annapolis, Maryland, and I had no plans other than to see someone that I have not seen in a very long time. And I think, honestly, that it was one of my favorite trips ever.
And I want to feel this way about my life more, too. I want to look forward to life with plans, yes, but also with a healthy sense of wonder and acceptance that whatever comes to me will be exactly what I need in that moment in my life.
So I’ve been slowly changing my vocabulary. I’ve been practicing saying “I’m so excited for ______” instead of “I can’t wait for ______.” This, first of all, moves me from the mindset of impatience to one of gratitude that I have something to look forward to in my life, and also gratitude for the great things that are in my life right now. Because I can say I’m excited for what I have, and also that I’m excited for what’s coming. It helps me refocus on what’s around me and the things I can do right now to build the life that I’m dreaming of.
I’m excited, and because of that, I can wait. I can definitely wait.
This subtle shift in language has made me a happier person this week. I’m thinking more positively, and I’m doing a better job of recognizing all the things around me that are great right now, in this very moment.
I am sure that there are more small, subtle things that we can do that make a big impact in our lives. You best believe I’m going to be looking out for them.