Anyone who really knows me knows that I eat a lot, and quickly. Ever since my stomach became a bottomless pit (puberty?), people, namely, my mom, have been telling me to slow down while I eat. Besides the obvious literal meaning, there is some deep metaphorical stuff going on here, too.
I saw a quote the other day that jived with me: Enjoy the food in your mouth instead of always thinking about your next bite. Maybe since it was talking about food, or because I’ve always felt in a rush to get to “the next big thing”, it resonated with me. I love my life, I love my family, but I too often catch myself overly anxious for that next “bite”. I’m sure many of you can relate. When you’re in junior high you can't wait to be in high school. When you’re in high school, you can’t wait to party, I mean, go off to college. By senior year, you just can’t wait to get your hands on that degree, go to your job, and start adulting. Then you realize you don’t know how to adult.
The mindset often gets worse from here. Do any of these sound familiar?
“I’ll be happy once I…
…buy a new car.”
…get a new job.”
These may all be great things, but our happiness shouldn’t always depend on what’s to come.
Of course we should all try to make improvements to ourselves and to our lives, and we should stay hungry for progress. I think it’s a key characteristic of a successful person. It’s also important, however, to appreciate where you are at the present and to see how far you’ve come.
As Drake so eloquently puts it: “Started from the bottom now we here.”
This whole mentality is extremely relevant to lifting as well. They say that the first day you start lifting is the day you started never being big/strong enough; and there is definitely some truth to that. After a new PR at the gym, you celebrate, then set your sights on the next big number. Again, this is a healthy mentality, and is necessary to be successful in the gym. However, fellow lifters, next time you have a bad day at the gym and feel discouraged, take a minute to remember where you started. Appreciate all that you have learned. Be proud of how far you’ve come. Then get back to work.
When you take on something new, you’re always going to want to be better than you’re present state, and that goes for life as well. We often don’t see the small progressions day-to-day, but if we look back and see where we started, oftentimes, as long as we were working hard and working smart, we can see great improvement and appreciate where we are. It’s so easy to get caught up in lofty goals and dreamy ambitions and it’s such a temptation to think, “I can’t wait until I get (insert thing here) because then I’ll really be happy.” Oftentimes there is much more good in our lives than we take the time to appreciate or recognize.
So instead of rushing to the next big change, take a breather, look around and appreciate your circumstances. If there are things causing you sorrow, it should be your prerogative to eliminate those things if they are indeed a problem. There is nothing wrong with trying to improve yourself, your circumstances, or your life in general, but we are often in such a rush to do so that we may be blind to the goodness that surrounds us. So take some time today to look around you, and be grateful for your situation. You don’t have to be grateful for everything and you don’t have to love every aspect of your life. Always keep striving for improvement, and get excited about that next bite, but don’t forget to enjoy the food in your mouth.