My whole life has been leaping from one goal to the next. As far back as I can remember, I always had goals. Later in life, after practicing for a while, academic and career goals shifted to financial goals. But goals nonetheless. I never gave myself a chance to not have any goals, to just chill. I regret it. Good things come to those who wait, right? Always planning for the “next thing” became a slippery slope for me. Thinking so much about my future all of the time didn’t leave room for everyday enjoyment.
Ironically I recall being asked in a burnout course what my goals were for the retreat. We had to share them amongst the members of our small group. I thought to myself, in part, isn’t that why we are all here? Because we have such unobtainable high expectations of ourselves and too many goals? Then it came to me. My goal was to no longer let my future rob my present. I tell you, this was a revelation.
All those years where I could have had fun, I got on my computer and tweaked my budget, obsessively looked at my student loan balances and the debt snowball timeline to see when they would be paid off. When would we have enough saved up to do the en suite in our bedroom and then buy the next rental property? Instead, I could have been looking out of the window at my beautiful view or just listening to a new disco mix by one of my favorite DJs or helped my husband with dinner.
Don’t get me wrong, I did some of these relaxing and enjoyable things on occasion, but when I look back, not enough, and I regret it. This makes me sad because I know now, now that I’ve slowed down, I can never get the time back and how much it would have enriched my life if I was in my life instead of letting my future rob it.
It’s a hard pill to swallow, and thus let it be a cautionary tale. If I help one person out there who’s read this article or encouraged another to stop and smell the roses, I consider this an accomplishment. (Here I go with the goals again.)
We work so hard every day and sometimes many nights. We at least owe it to ourselves to enjoy some of what we worked so hard for. If that’s digging holes in your backyard without actually planting, then go do it right now! If it means stopping to look at the beautiful view with cold groceries in your car on the way home, go stop and park. If it means watching your significant other do something, anything in your presence, be there and just sit.
You will fondly remember these moments as they are life’s precious gift to you — your present.
This anonymous physician blogs at Doc to Disco.
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