As a child I imagined adulthood almost as if it were a destination, believing that once I got there I would have the dream job, the dream husband, and the dream home. I would have accomplished every item on my bucket list and would just live out the life I had fantasized until I grew old.

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Of course, now that I’m older, I’ve come to see how flawed that vision was. In truth, whether or not we ever achieve the “dream” job, husband or home, our lives will never be 100% settled. No matter what we plan for the future, the ever-changing nature of life and time makes it impossible for us to ever reach a static state of settlement.

When we let go of the expectations for our lives, we’re better able to grasp the incredible opportunities that each present moment holds.

And to be honest, there’s nothing wrong with that. Understanding life as an ongoing series of transitions — rather than viewing our current circumstances as merely stepping stones to a more ideal, permanent state — is liberating, and can in fact teach us to better embrace the here and now. When we let go of the expectations for our lives, we’re better able to grasp the incredible opportunities that each present moment holds.

I used to envision the candlelit dinner parties I would host for friends when I moved into the perfect home and the corner office I would have when I landed the perfect job, but I no longer want to wait for an imagined set of circumstances in order to live out the life I want. I might not have the perfect home or the job I had imagined, but what’s to stop me from hosting friends at my current house, or from being happy in my current job?

None of us knows what the future holds, so let’s each start embracing the transitional phases of the present. Let’s celebrate what we have, giving care and attention to nourishing both our souls and our relationships, and creating memories now that we’ll be forever thankful for.

As Henry David Thoreau’s words remind us: “You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.”

What can you embrace right now? What is it? Let us know in the comments.

Image via Sabrina Klomp

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9 comments

  1. This is such a great article! I have to remind myself everyday to be in the present and to enjoy this season of life that I am in. Being in college and wanting all of the things mentioned (dream job, husband, house) is distracting sometimes. It helps me to focus on God and know that he has it all under control! Right now I am learning to embrace myself and be myself instead of always looking to others for approval. I am embracing the confidence God has given me and the adventures that he is blessing me with in this new year!

  2. As I stare down an unknown in my career future (my current job ends in one month) it is too easy to get carried away with the anxiety of “the next”. Thank you for the gentle reminder to enjoy this present space- we won’t get this time back!

  3. I love this article! Its so easy to focus on your end goals that you forget to enjoy and celebrate the now! Embracing the interim … might have to become my new mantra.

  4. What an incredible word that seems applicable no matter the life stage. I always admires those who seem to engage beautifully with the current moment, yet I fail to do so myself. This reminder is a strong encouragement to never bypass the present in anticipation of unknown. It requires intentionality to ground yourself in the current relationships/opportunities; but that intentionality reaps unmatched benefits.

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  5. But does anyone else find the feeling of not being settled exhausting? This is exactly the phase I’m in right now, but spending the last two years living out of boxes and in a disorganized state because my apartment isn’t “home” or a permanent place is just exhausting, stressful and, frankly, anxiety-inducing. Am I the only one who finds this difficult?

    1. Brittany, reading this article made me realize that I have lived in 7 different places in 7 years, moving to a new apartment or rental home every summer. At times by choices, and other times to be closer to work. It is exhausting to feel unsettled all the time, to constantly be working towards a better house, better job, better circumstances, exc. I think our culture sort of encourages this, to not focus on what you have, but what you don’t. This quote often helps me put my thoughts back into perspective: “Do not spoil what you do have by desiring what you do not have. Remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” Epicurus

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