Why the ‘Best Time’ of Your Life is Right Now
Don’t miss out on the good stuff life has to offer, thinking that the magic lies in the next moment––the good stuff is right now, and here’s why.
As soon as you graduate college, your life will be great. As soon as your bank balance has more than 10 dollars in it, life will finally get good. As soon as you find the love of your life, you can begin waking up excited. As soon as you get that raise, as soon as you pay off your student loans, as soon as the divorce is final, then you’ll finally be happy, right? The times of your life that are the very best don’t exist in the future. Your life isn’t about to begin. Wherever you are, you are smack in the middle of living.
I recently visited Florida, where I resided for about a decade, and where, unfortunately, some of the worst days of my life occurred. I got mixed up in an abusive relationship and, after a divorce, landed in the middle of some severe poverty.
I felt horrible that I couldn’t provide more for my two children, but somehow we always made it. Sometimes, through the kindness of others, but mostly because I worked a few jobs to try and make ends meet.
Each year, I would save my tax return and take my kids to Disney World for their birthdays, which were only four days apart in May. Living in Florida, visiting the parks was a surprisingly inexpensive endeavor due to the discounts of being a resident.
To save money, we would stay three nights but visit all four parks, and on the final night when the park closed, we would drive the three and a half hours back to our home.
I had a small SUV, and I would set up a bed in the back for them, and they typically fell asleep before we made it out of the parking lot. So if the park closed at 10, we were out of the parking lot by 11 and made it home sometime between 2 and 3 in the morning.
I should have prefaced this by saying I am not a night person, and I was typically exhausted from Disney anyway. So I would stop at the first exit past the parks, get the biggest coffee I could find, and begin the journey home.
It wasn't easy. But I was grateful I could do something for them because they never complained about the light Christmases or the fact that we never ate out and struggled to purchase the most basic needs.
I just kept thinking, if only I could make more money. If only I could afford more things for them. If only I could do a better job as a parent.
This past week I rented a car to drive from Disney, where I was staying for a conference, to see my bestie in Fort Myers. Sadly, I rented a car and realized they had given me a rental that was sitting on empty. I saw an exit up ahead and pulled in for gas.
Then all the memories came flooding back.
The exit I took was the same I always took all those years ago. I would grab a coffee and maybe a couple of chocolate pints of milk for my unconscious passengers in the same place.
I became awash in gratitude for those difficult nights and times with them. I kept thinking if I could have more, we’d be happy and fine, but looking back, I realized we already were.
We had a home. We had food. We had each other. And it was all we needed. And it felt good to get to spoil them now and again. Looking back, I was proud of myself.
Even in our struggles, we had happiness. It wasn’t about getting to a better spot for them. Even though I was able to provide for them better eventually and all my effort paid off.
But it’s important to know that even in the midst of those trials, it’s still life, and it’s happening right now.
Now is the time to choose happiness regardless of your situation.
Best Lessons in Difficulty
Whatever you are worried about, even big stuff like losing a home or a divorce, let it go. Trust that a greater lesson and purpose is being worked out in you and your life.
The easy times in our life can bring life lessons and good, but the difficult times hold the greater rewards.
Difficult times shape and mold us while propelling us forward. Goodness and gratitude emerge from difficulty like a phoenix rising. When we pass through the fire and come out on the other side more empowered, we are better for it. The trick is recognizing that while still in our moment of difficulty and being grateful for whatever is being worked out in us.
Kick Shame to the Curb
We don’t have to sit in a state of shame in bad times. Shame is a liar anyway. When I could barely do anything for my kids, I felt terrible, but those times have left them humble, grateful, and driven.
A lesson was being worked out in them, and they are such incredible adults today. Not to mention a lot of fun. They are two of my closest friends and others love them and love being around them as much as I do.
They are resourceful and rarely shaken by difficulties. They watched the lessons being worked out in me and learned as well.
Gratitude is Key
Your life is happening right now, and gratitude at the moment is key. We can be grateful for the gift of being alive if we have difficulty finding anything else to be grateful for.
I know it’s not easy if you are going through something particularly difficult, like losing a loved one. But, that’s exactly the reason to love and celebrate the moments we have with others. And if we’ve lost someone, we can reflect on the blessings heaped upon us by having had the privilege of knowing them. That’s not to say that it doesn’t hurt like hell.
As for life, we really can be thankful for the days we live without because it helps us realize how creative, resourceful, and strong we can be.
Learning that lesson helped me get out of dependent relationships and become a lot picker on who I allow in my life. I’ve created a beautiful life because of it but still be thankful for all the times before.
Whatever day you are in at this moment, it’s the best day of your life. Enjoy it. Life is too short not to.