“The fact that life is messy is your opportunity, not your problem.”
- Jeff Hoffman
Yesterday was the first day since I can remember that the weather here was sheer bliss. Not hot at all, not too cool…the kind of day where you can leave the doors and windows open from morning to night.
That’s special when you’ve been through almost three months with less than two weeks below 100F. It was magical. It was…ideal.
Experiencing what seems like ideal often comes with some wishful thinking: if only it could stay this way forever! That somehow, if we could just get a certain situation or condition set to ideal, that life would be awesome.
It never happens, though, does it? These ideal moments are fleeting, whether it’s the temperature, or a great hair day, or an incredible event, or an accomplishment with our talent. They come and go, and this can leave us feeling down when the moment passes or constantly pining for that next ideal moment, not knowing when or if it will ever come...
This is unfortunate. It seems like we have to have some sort of life-threatening event or to experience a great loss to remember that life is too short to live in the past or future, and yet it happens all the time. So here are some thoughts on what to do next time you’re experiencing something ideal:
It should be obvious, but it’s amazing how many times this gets passed by: if you’re experiencing something ideal, enjoy it! Be thankful right then and there for what is happening. Recognize it for what it is, and rather than bemoan the fact that it can’t always be like that, live in it! If you did whatever it was, PLEASE – give yourself some credit. Don’t waste your time with thoughts like Well, I usually don’t do that well or I’m sure I can’t do it like that again…so what? You did whatever it was well NOW, and if you give yourself some credit, your body and brain just might retain some of what it did. Think about it – no credit…why would the brain want to remember what it did?
2. Ideal moments are fleeting, and so are bad ones.
“This, too, shall pass” is always true. Everything changes all the time, so you might as well invest in living in the moment. You can learn from the past and plan for the future – and I personally recommend both of those – but living in either means you’re hanging out with regret, worry, nostalgia, and/or other things that don’t do anything for you in present time. If things are awesome, see #1 above. If they aren’t, they won’t be that way forever. It may seem like it when it’s in your present, but it passes. Think back to something that happened that wasn’t good. See, you had to think back to it because it’s not happening now. Proof.
3. Recreate when possible.
I can’t make awesome weather appear when I want, but I can make attempts to recreate something ideal if I made it happen the first time. Evaluate – what made that moment possible? What could make it possible again? Oftentimes when ideal comes around, we can be afraid to try something again that involves risk because we might fail. Well, not trying might mean failing, but not trying definitely means you’ll miss having a chance at that ideal again, so why not go for it? So what if you fail? Now, I’m not talking about gambling with your life savings at a casino – you do have to take some reason into account. But not trying because you might crack, or ruin a canvas, or fall, or write something silly, or embarrass yourself? Being afraid to fail means not moving forward, and even if you do move forward, it won’t be very fast. And if you fail, see #2 above.
Ideal is great. But as I’m sure you know, it doesn’t happen often. And that’s ok - the good news is, you don’t have to wait for ideal in order to get ahead. Go for pretty good and see what happens. Life will have ideal moments, but life isn’t perfect – it’s messy. And that’s only a problem if you see it as a problem. Go create and experience!
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