In the morning, on the way to my car, I pass another car owned by someone in my building. It has a bumper sticker on it that says: I’d rather be in New York. There are actually two people in my building who have “I’d rather be…” stickers. When I see them, I automatically think: then go be in New York or Maine or fishing or wherever you’d rather be doing what you’d rather be doing.
Take the steps necessary to reduce this longing to be living another life. People feel trapped by decisions they have made. Maybe the decision is to live in Asbury Park instead of New York City because it’s cheaper or closer to family or closer to a chosen job. Living your life with this underlying “wanting” is keeping you from being fully present in the life you are actually living. Embrace the decisions you’ve made.
I know this seems like a simplistic answer to a complex problem; but, if you aren’t taking steps now, today, to create the kind of life you want, you will probably never realize that life. My ex and I had the goal of creating careers and designing a lifestyle that was only dependent on one full time salary or two part time salaries. We knew that this would provide us a freedom to leave jobs we didn’t love or explore new adventures either together or separately. When one of us was working hard while the other was in grad school, I don’t think we ever thought: I’d rather be….because we were working towards a goal, together and that was where I wanted to be at that moment: working towards that common goal.
My parents are in talks with each other about their expectations regarding my father’s retirement. My mother retired a couple of years ago. There are so many things to take into account: the age and size of their home which affects the upkeep needed, my father’s mother and their proximity to her and the work that needs to be done in order to put their house on the market if they decide to move. My parents don’t want to go through a lifetime of accumulated stuff and figure out what to do with it; but, they understand it is part of the process to reach the end goal and so, in a weird way, cleaning the attic and basement is exactly where they want to be: taking steps towards their future.
Life presents us with a million moments where we make decisions about how, where and with whom we live. You may feel trapped by debt, an ailing parent, children still in school or a secure job in a recession; but, you are truly exactly where you decided to be. Look around, focus on the good, positive things and if you have to, ban the phrase “I’d rather” from your vocabulary for awhile.