“If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” – Lao Tzu; ancient Chinese philosopher, founder of Taoism
Wake up call!
Yesterday, as I was leaving my hometown of Chicago, a huge feeling of despair overcame me. I was at my dad’s house mopping around, complaining that I didn’t want to go back to Boston and I didn’t want to go back to work. I was also feeling anxious about a request for a third interview for an organization that I had applied for. I haven’t had a job offer but I had been freaking out about what I would do if I had one. Would I actually leave this job for more money? Do I want to do that work? What if I still end up unfulfilled or annoyed? I just want to start a business but I’m broke. Boston is so expensive and I’m getting faced with super expensive utility bills. How am I going to start a business and deal with my expenses? AWWWW!
As my dad drove me to the airport, my dad mentioned he had never seen me like this. I usually don’t grieve when I’m leaving my family or when they leave me. I do miss them but I don’t make a scene. This time was different. The dread was palpable.
When I got to the airport, I decided that I needed to read a motivational, self-help book to get me out of this slump because the closer I was getting to Boston the more powerful my despair became.
Luckily, I stumbled upon, Jen Sincero’s “You are a Badass: How to stop doubting your greatness and start living an awesome life”. Her down to earth and relatable storytelling captured my attention so I bought it and began reading it while I was at the gate.
Sincero begins each chapter with a quote. She introduced chapter three with Tzu’s quote. The moment my eyes read that quote, my perspective changed. Here I was moping about how I didn’t want to return to work in two days when I could be focused on the fact that I have Tuesday off.
One of my goals and most important values is to live a life of peace. You know the peace that passeth all understanding that the Bible talks about. That kind of peace. I realized on the airplane that I can’t get to peace by focusing on the irritating emails that I’d be opening on Wednesday. I can’t get to peace by worrying about making a decision for a job that I haven’t been offered. I get to peace by being grateful for a safe trip home and being comforted by the great employee benefits I have like great vacation time in which I can take a day to recover from traveling before I go back into the office. I get to peace by being grateful for having a prospective opportunity to improve and diversify my professional skill set. I get to peace by realizing that I have a day off to work on my business.
So today as I woke up, I was super grateful that I didn’t have to go to work. Without the reminder of the quote, I would’ve been thinking about those emails. Don’t get me wrong as I enjoy this moment, anxiety creeps in….emails….boss…..workspace….. apartment issues. But then I remember the present. I am in my kitchen facing the window. The sky is blue. I LOVE when the sky is blue. I’m writing in my journal and my blog. I ENJOY writing.
At this very present moment, I feel at peace. And living in the present feels absolutely wonderful.