Do It Now!
Don’t Make Your Happiness Contingent on anyone else or conditionals. I will/can be happy when I …. is a crazy way to live your life. In fact, I have spent most of my life bartering with myself. When I get skinny, I will allow myself to finally be happy. When I do this, I will deserve that. When my daughters are no longer bickering and talking back, I can relieve myself of some of this mommy guilt. When my house is clean and my laundry is folded, I will be a good housewife. When I give my husband the attention he deserves, I will be a good wife. Then I beat myself up about all of it. It’s wasted energy.
You deserve happiness now. I.DESERVE.HAPPINESS.NOW! Not tomorrow or the day after or whenever I hit some imaginary goal, NOW! It shouldn’t be reserved only for special occasions. Tell people you love them. Dance like no one is watching. Don’t be afraid. Go for what you want. Celebrate every single day. Stop and see the beauty all around you. Every day that you are alive is a “special” occasion.
I’ve always been that kind of person who has hung my life on conditions and some imaginary set of rules for life. I don’t know why or how this started but I just never feel like I quite deserve success.I always feel like I need permission to just do what I want. Sounds crazy because I am the same person who believes that anything is possible through hard work and sacrifice. Maybe I only believe that applies to other people. It’s the mantra that I base my entire life on but then I just don’t quite feel like I deserve it, any of it. I feel like a fraud, in my own life.
I rush through the moments. Sort of like running through rain trying not to get wet. Instead of spending my life leisurely strolling through on a sunny day like I won the world and deserve all that life has to offer, I run from point to point trying to go unnoticed even when I want to be celebrated for my achievements. I half-ass a lot of things. I never give anything completely 100% because if I give 100% and it’s not good enough, then I am not good enough. I can’t give more than 100%, so if I hold back a little bit at least I can assuage myself with the knowledge that I didn’t try my best so sabotage is better than failure but success is never even an option when you live like that. Fulfillment can’t happen when you aren’t going all in.
Like a lot of people, I reserve things for special occasions; beautiful dresses that never get worn waiting for “special” enough occasions. China that never comes out for fear of being broken or the situation not being “special” enough. Furniture that stays covered, so many things that never get used but instead tucked away safely waiting for someday. Flowers we never cut and enjoy at our table for fear they will die. Well, I am tired of waiting for SOME DAY. I want to live my life all in TODAY. I don’t want to be afraid of breaking or damaging something before it’s appropriate time because if I keep living like this, I am wasting my life waiting. We’ve all done it. I’ll reward myself with this when I accomplish this. I will do that when I deserve it. You deserve it now. Just do it. Stop waiting, life is short.
I should have learned this lesson when I was in labor with my first baby. I refused to use the breathing technique until I was in full on transition labor at which point I couldn’t focus or catch my breath. I was in a silent moment of complete overwhelming terror and I had no way to get out because I had rationed my “breathing” for a “special” occasion, as if breathing itself was a luxury that I did not deserve. That’s my life in a nutshell. Hurriedly being stoic and never feeling the full weight of my joy.
So when I decided to make this summer the throwback summer, I thought I was doing it for my girls and I was, mostly because I wanted them to experience just playing and having fun and enjoying summer without a schedule but it’s slowed me down. I’ve been sitting and listening to my children laugh. I’ve been noticing the rhythm of the birds singing. I can feel the calm that the water brings as it splashes up into us when we play in the pool. I am breathing, all day long because that is what you are supposed to do. Air is free. I am walking more slowly. I am invested and present and you can’t believe how it changes your perspective. I have given myself permission to be happy and enjoy my life.
Today, I planned to make enchiladas, Mexican rice and refried beans for dinner. Usually, I hurry the kids out of the kitchen because it’s easier and quicker for me to do it myself. Today, I put on Mariachi music in the kitchen as I boiled the chicken. We were already running late but you can’t make chicken boil faster than it does. The girls were dancing, I was dancing and they were giggling and telling me to call them by their middle names, their “Latina” names. They said they were being full-on Latinas. They were really enjoying all of it and in turn I was happy to be doing it.
My 9-year-old loves to cook and she asked if she could help me prepare the meal. Again, normally, I would have brushed her off but today, I said yes. She was my sous chef. I mean when you think about it, this was a tremendous teaching moment and what kind of person would I have been to deny her of something so simple as helping her mother with dinner? So, she cooked the entire meal with me and it was the best meal I’ve eaten in a long time and I told her so. I mean this could be her passion. Who am I to deny her? The point is that it felt good to do this with my daughter, she felt good to be doing it and the food tasted great. A memory was made and I know my daughter didn’t feel rejected or dismissed. She felt empowered and accomplished and I had something to do with that.
There is a special contentment that comes from going all in. The other day, I was doing an assignment and I really put all of my time and attention into it. I didn’t hurry. I wasn’t thinking of all the other places I needed to be or things I needed to be doing, I was just present in my writing and it felt different. I felt the passion return. I guess my point of all of this is, be present and give 100 % at whatever you do; you are missing out on the best days of your life by running from shelter to shelter in life’s rain. Put your rain boots on and dance in that rain, jump in those puddles and don’t worry, you are stronger than you look. You won’t melt and you won’t believe how great true accomplishment, at something even as simple as listening to what your child is saying, will make you feel. I want to teach my girls to enjoy life, the simple moments because sometimes those that seem the most insignificant are the more unforgettable.