Whenever I feel despair or hopelessness, I turn to Pinterest. I search for quotes that will resonate and encourage me, and I’ve even built an entire board of more than 1,000 of these pinned quotes. The majority of these quotes come from pre-June 2015, before I met my husband and was fairly love lost and hopeless. I’d scroll through the site, looking for words to reassure me that I wouldn’t forever feel this way.
There is one particular image that stuck with me over the years. Not because it was what I had hoped for (although it was), but more because it is what happened.
Ethan and I came back from our dream honeymoon a few days ago, and I’ve been in denial about it. The end of our vacation means the official finale of the holiday break, and in just a week, I will go back to school. I’ve got a new job and a freelancing gig, and I am already starting to worry about balancing them in addition to my classes (and, being the overachiever that I am, I decided to take an extra class this semester). Plus we are still working through the challenges of a major life change. Back in reality, thoughts on my short comings and not being enough are lining up to zap out any bliss I gained while sipping fruiting cocktails poolside in Costa Rica.
We were supposed to drive down to southern Illinois today to pick up our dog, who has been with Ethan’s parents in Tennessee for the last three weeks, but those plans have been derailed because of snow. And, since I don’t go back to work until tomorrow, I was given an extra day to catch up on errands, work on the freelance stuff, do all the tidying projects around the house that I promised myself I would do over the winter break.
Instead, though, Ethan and I slept in, which is a huge treat since my new bakery job comes with a 5 a.m. wakeup time, and even on my days off, Annie starts making noises around 6:30 demanding to be fed. Not on this gloomy Saturday. We laid in bed snuggling and reading, before I got up to make us pancakes and coffee, which we brought back from Costa Rica.
And, as the quote says, everything was alright. For a few hours, I forgot about my to-do lists, what I should be doing, where our bank accounts is, how many pounds I gained on vacation, if I will ever get published, if I am doing enough for the world, if I am doing enough creatively, if I am being a good friend, and all the other worries that keep me up at night.
Sitting there, eating pancakes and drinking coffee with my newish husband as the snow came down, I remembered that this is the life I had dreamt about years ago, and it doesn’t seem to right squander it away with worries that it could be better. What’s the point of wishing and hoping for things if you won’t enjoy them when they arrive? Yes, I wish our circumstances were a bit different, and my days weren’t so full, but there is so much good still pulsing through our lives.
With a new year upon us, I’m making the intention to find more good in the present rather than going hunting for what is missing or how it doesn’t compare to what other’s may have. I realized that I need more joy in my life, and the only way to get it is by recognizing what is already there.
So, I sip my coffee, watch the snow come down, write, and be so thankful that what I had long wanted is now mine, giving me reassurance that I all is, and will be, OK.