"If only I could get to that stage in life, then I’ll be happy. If only I could make xx amount of money, then I'll breathe easier. If only all this stress and late hours would pay off someday, then I’ll celebrate. And if only I can get recognized, then I’ll finally feel validated."
I’ve said all of this at some point or another, but I’ve realized that there is no “there” there.
A bit confusing, perhaps, but hear me out.
There is the place where back when I was nowhere near being there, all I could think of was how to get there. It’s the feeling when I reach a milestone, encounter a significant point in my life, get praise for working hard, or when I see hard work translate into a major bump in my finances. It’s the place I dreamt would give me a major boost of satisfaction.
What was once just a thought, a wish even, has now become my “there” – a place I’ve come to think isn’t good enough and if anything, has left me wanting to explore what other “there” places exist.
If there’s one thing we all have in common, it’s the desire for more. So we live lives full of extreme hustle and realize what we’ve wanted and got was never exactly as fulfilling as we once imagined.
That’s because no feeling, achievement, or transition into a new season of life will ever make me feel like I’ve arrived. Getting to that place will never feel like happiness is eternal, like money isn’t an issue, or like I’m constantly #winning at life. Those places are only made of fleeting moments that we enjoy temporarily before they fade.
Feeling unfulfilled in the “there” places stems from a lot in my personal life, dating back to my childhood. Now as an adult, I sometimes pride in being busy, and I oftentimes wear busy as if it were a badge of honor. All of this in a lame effort to reach the next “there.”
See, we’re wired to believe that more leads to more, so we strive. Strive at the expense of our well-being, strive so we can feel like we’ll someday catch a glimpse of what it feels like to be in another unexplored “there” place.
But sometimes I catch myself in the midst of this never-ending cycle and then remember that I am enough, today, in this moment, at this very point in my life. That’s the place I need to strive to remain in, because that precise type of “there” will always be there.