It’s What I Have Not What I Had
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It’s What I Have Not What I Had

Appreciating the present for what it is.

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It’s What I Have Not What I Had

What are a few things you have in your life right now, that you could not live without – is it a person…a place…an experience? Every day, we wake up and go through the same motions. We follow a nearly identical routine repeatedly without really realizing what we’re doing.

At the end of the day, we go to bed either happy or sad – yet we still dwell on what we had or what we want. Why are we never happy with the present? Why can we not find contentment where we are? Because we’re nostalgic and because we're greedy. We continue to reminisce on better days and we are constantly asking for more – more money, more sleep, more support, more free time.

Try to remember the last day you woke up thankful for:

1. The events and people who got you to where you are today

2. The events and people the day will bring

It shouldn’t take a life-changing event for you to realize what’s in front of you. It shouldn’t come from a friend’s advice, or even an article explaining it. You might think you live in the present because physically, you are. But where is your mind at? Are you happy in your day-to-day or do you wake up dreading what the day will bring?

It’s up to you to determine that level of happiness. Sure, there will be external factors that come into play – but you’re in ultimate control.

I tend to dwell on how life was going a couple of years ago. In 2015, I was living in one of my favorite cities. I was flourishing in my position as a marketing consultant and working toward my Master’s degree. What I remembered above all was the amazing summer I spent with friends and family. Every weekend I was with someone I loved, experiencing a new place and doing what I enjoyed most. On more occasions than not, I found that I was happy.

September was a memorable month, but not for the same reason. That year had been the best yet…and in one instance the opposite held true. Trying to live in the present when the present is your biggest fear coming true, is much easier said than done. When a traumatic event occurs and you’re forced to deal with it directly, “moving on” is a more difficult concept than normal. Yes, every day I look back and remember how different my life was when my dad was in it. I would give anything to be living the life “I had.” But that’s not my reality – it’s not my sisters’ reality – nor is it my mom’s. As difficult as it may be, we need to understand that our present is not our past, and our future is not our present.

A couple of months after my dad passed, my mom and I were talking around 3 a.m., both unable to sleep. My phone lit up, immediately following my mom saying she just didn’t "know what to do." I opened my email to a non-existent sender address, a blank subject line, and a single quote in the body:

Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.

Reading that message in real-time was an eerie experience, but it's something that will always stick with me. I think this is wonderful advice for those of us who simply don’t know where to start. Think about those few things (or people) that you could not live without. Carry them close to you as you take on each day. Do what’s necessary and do not dwell on what you have nor what you want – because what we had is not what we have, and what we have today is not what we’ll have tomorrow.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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