For most of my life I have struggled with living in the present. I’m the queen of “I’ll do it better next time” or “next year when I’m skinner, richer, prettier, wittier things will be better.” I know that my inability to live in the moment, at any given time, has cost me many fun, exciting opportunities because I was so focused on living in the future or waiting until my life was better (i.e. until I was thinner, prettier, richer, etc.) to enjoy myself.
I haven’t made a lot of so called “big” mistakes in my life. I wasn’t a girl who got pregnant in high school or who got so drunk at a party that I did something I regretted. I wasn’t a serial dater; I didn’t drop out of college to pursue some ambitious dream only to discover that that was a mistake.
I was the girl who didn’t go out for cheerleading. I wanted to be a cheerleader, badly. But I didn’t go out for the team because my “friend” at the time told me that “girls like us weren’t cheerleaders.” I believed that lie through high school, until it was too late to try out for the team.
I was the girl who didn’t have a date to prom. My junior year nobody asked me. Nobody. I had to go with my BFF at the time ( because her 22 year old boyfriend wouldn’t take her). What’s weirder is I was on prom court and was still single at prom. Senior year, one guy asked me three weeks before the dance. I already had a dress picked out. I think he thought he was going to get laid if I went with him; that was a no-go. It still bothers me that no one asked me (the right way or should I say for the right reasons). Should I have asked someone? I’ve always believed that wasn’t lady like. When I think of my 16 and 17 year old self I feel sorry for her.
I was the girl who quit cross country after sophomore year. I loved running. Like, LOVED IT. I could run in the blazing hot sun. I could run when it was cold out. I loved the adrenaline rush. And I loved what it did to my body. I was my fittest as a cross country runner. I quit, not because I suddenly turned lazy or because I didn’t like the sport any longer; I quit because I wasn’t the best on the team and I was tired of always being reminded that I was slow, chubby, etc.
I was the girl who struggled with depression for six and half years. From the time that I was fifteen until I was almost twenty-two I struggled heavily with depression. I didn’t like who I was. I didn’t like what I looked like. I gained 115 pounds during this time. I contemplated suicide. I robbed myself of half of my teen years and part of my early twenties. I didn’t enjoy anything. I spent my time on the internet looking at Myspace and Facebook profiles of people who I thought were cool, or who had amazing lives, or who were acceptable. I robbed myself of some of the most care-free years of my life. Though I know that my depression was for the most part out of my hands, I still wish….
When I was 15, I was diagnosed with a fairly rare skin condition called Dermatographic Urticaria. The condition is stress induced and is only caused and can only be controlled by working on my stress levels. I will never forget what my doctor told me the day I was diagnosed. He said “young lady, do you know what the enemy of best is?” I shook my head no. He leaned in close and looked me in the eye and said “Better.”
And Better has been my problem for years.
Better is why I couldn’t enjoy the present. I had to live in the future to cope. You see in my present was addiction, and lack of money, and broken relationships, and weight problems. I thought I had to live in the future because the future was better.
And now, I don’t know what it is like to live in the now. Everyday I’m working on it, but my mind is usually living in the future or regretting the past. “If I could go back,” something I’ve been hearing myself say way too often, lately. “If I could go back I would… try out for cheerleading… have a date for prom…. never have quit cross country…. given depression the finger.” But alas, I can’t go back. And though my regrets may seem trivial to some, in many ways they are quite painful to me. But what I don’t want, what I desperately don’t want is to spend the next two, five, or fifty years of my life living so far in the future I forget the present exist. I want to be here, right now! I want to love these moments. I want to find the beauty in something new every single day that I’m here. I want to embrace spontaneity. I want to enjoy solitude. I want to look at the constants in my life and appreciate them. I want to believe that right now is the best, and forget about the possibility of better.
Yeah, that sounds about right.
Until Next Time.