"Looking toward the future, we were begging for the past" -Modest Mouse
The older I get, the more introspective I become. And while it's likely not news to anyone who knows me on a personal level, I've come to realize that I have a fatal flaw: my inexplicable insistence that the grass is greener on the other side. I've historically been incapable of appreciating the present while it's playing itself out in real time. Instead, I become fixated on what's next, then romanticize about the past at a later date, which in most instances comes years later.
I'm a big supporter of not settling for contentment when genuine happiness is attainable. It's kind of what I base my life on. Don't settle. Be happy. However, in my never-ending pursuit of happiness, I've absolutely squandered opportunities -- career-based, romantic or otherwise. I've often asked "what's next?" when I should have been appreciating what's now.
We all do this. It's human nature.
In actuality, the grass isn't always greener. If you're like me, and I'm sure all too many of you are, do yourself a favour and realize this. Now. Defy the way you've been naturally wired. Change yourself.
Allow yourself the opportunity to say, "Wow, this is amazing," rather than "Wow, that was amazing" three years from now.
Whether I vocalized it or not, damn near everything I've done up until this point has had a predetermined end date. A shelf life, if you will. In the back of my head, I knew that I was looking for what's next. Most women I've ever dated, I've had one foot mentally out the door the entire time. I've started new jobs and sent out my resume all in the same day. Between the age of 22 and 31, I've lived in nine different houses or apartments. Fear of commitment leads to a nomadic lifestyle.
In the past, if I had been writing this from heaven, I'd be busy wondering what the weather was like in hell. If I were on a game show, and I was offered the $50,000 grand prize or the mystery box, I'd choose that goddamn mystery box every single time. And the box would be full of monkey sh*t. And I'd have no one to blame but myself.
But as you age, you slow down. And when you slow down, you're able to see things more clearly. You allow your life to come into focus. And when it does, sometimes what's right in front of your face is f*cking incredible.
Plain and simple, appreciating the now eliminates future regret.
I'm a big, 6'4" child. Beyond these columns, I write television shows and movies for a living. Comedy. I've worked hard to ensure that I have an immaturity-fueled economy. Some people are meant to save lives; others are meant to write dick jokes. C'est la vie. I've made it so that in certain aspects of my life, I can perpetually remain a kid. But that's no excuse for the other aspects of my life. And whether they know it or not, I have a deep admiration for my friends who've realized this sooner. But we all move at our own pace.
Slowing down isn't settling, and compromising a selfish lifestyle isn't losing. In many ways, it's evolution. And if you don't evolve, you get left behind.
My natural inclination, in all aspects of life, is to be on the move. But it's impossible to stop and smell the roses while running.
I've largely rewired myself. You can, too. Stop. Breathe. Look down. Sometimes the grass you're standing on is actually the perfect shade of green.
Don't worry about what's next. Enjoy what's here.
Appreciate now. Now.