I was a guest at a friend’s wedding a couple of years ago. She looked like she stepped out of a page in Vogue Bridal.
She was marrying a stand-up guy and true gentleman who deeply loved her.
Her family and friends were giddy with joy for them both on that beautiful spring afternoon.
But she was freaking out. Over votives.
She seemed as if she were hyperventilating. The votive candles she wanted appeared to be missing and were replaced with slightly different ones.
But what I cared about in that moment was something else that was missing.
Her. The bride. She was missing on her own wedding day.
Not literally of course. There she was, dressed in white, hair in a chic chignon. But I wanted to shake her and say, “Open your eyes! You’re missing this! This day is everything! Screw the votive-candle-things! Be PRESENT! Appreciate this moment!”
I’m, of course, not perfect. And I’m certainly not in a constant state of unshakeable presence and bliss.
But there are a few things in life that now, looking back, I wish I let myself appreciate more.
Maybe you can still enjoy them or they can help you enjoy exactly where you are at right now. Cause exactly where you are might be more awesome than you think.
1. Get comfy with change and uncertainty.
After leaving a great job in Sydney, Australia, I moved to New York at age 25 with no professional network or promising career prospects.
It took me three months to get hired after a whole lotta hustle. And those three months were torture! I was constantly worried about money and concerned I would never be employed again.
During that time, I took yoga every day to give me a reason to leave my apartment and so I could make friends in a new city.
Ironically, even daily vinyasa classes couldn’t help me de-stress. I was impatient during the meditations.
All I could think about was checking my phone after class for job interview updates. Looking back, I regret not milking every minute and truly exhaling in that gorgeous yoga studio.
I actually daydream about having an opportunity like that again.
How to do it better: I hear this a lot from people who are laid off: They worry about never finding work instead of relaxing just a little bit and enjoying the gap between their last job and the next.
Focus on planning over worrying.
And, assuming you have enough of a financial cushion, appreciate the additional time and focus you have to get your diet, fitness regime or relationships back one track.
Those important things that may have come of secondary importance (unintentionally) while you were still employed.
Take a couple of days to center yourself instead of immediately emailing your resume around town like a maniac. Use your nervous energy to propel you into constructive online research and some in-person networking.
Once you’re doing what you can to get hired (and let’s be honest, job seeking rarely consumes eight or nine hours per day), make those healthy habits and pleasures a priority.
Also think – is now a good time to get real about that side hustle idea so that you’re never in this position again?
It’s rare to have a solid chunk of time to exercise or get the sleep your body needs. You’ll be happy you took the time once that 7 a.m. alarm goes off on the first Monday of your new gig. That will probably last for years.
2. Learning to love your body.
My friend Danielle and I were looking at old photos of ourselves recently when she gasped, “Oh my God, I looked like that in my 20s? I can’t believe I thought I was fat!” Funny, isn’t it? As I looked at photos of myself I also thought, Why was I so self-critical? I was cute!
How to do it better: I remember those harsh criticisms when looking in the mirror today and force myself to let current criticisms go. If not, I know I’ll regret not appreciating the woman I am right now. I’ve decided to like what I’ve got.
Imagine if we obsessed over all of the things we love about ourselves.
I put it on Instagram recently, and I mean it: Imagine if we obsessed over all of the things we love about ourselves.
Pick one thing you love about yourself every morning and state it aloud before the mirror. Say: “Awesome hair day!” or “My booty’s lookin’ fine.”
“Hell yeah for jeans season!” Do it. Seriously. Notice the immediate shift in how you feel and enjoy it.
3. Being cool with new beginnings.
Learning a new language. Entering a new career. Moving to a new city. Launching a business. Whenever I’ve had to do new things in my life, I’ve been in such a hurry to master them, I’ve rarely enjoyed the process of arriving there.
But the vast majority of life happens between learning and mastery.
I’d be too consumed with my language mistakes, all too eager to settle into a new company before enjoying my job, or desperate to familiarize myself with a new city versus just enjoying the newness of it all.
How to do it better: Be OK with not being an expert right off the bat—nix those crazy expectations you have of yourself! Being new at something does not make you inadequate. It makes you feel alive. It keeps you humble. It forces you to feel awake and alert—like an enthusiastic beginner again.
Do you ever feel like you’re life is missing something?
You might be right. But it might not be what you think it is. What’s missing may be your allowing of the present, no matter how imperfect it seems, to still be good.
Ironically, when we have confidence that the relationship will come, that our body is enough, that the job will show up, and that we will master what we need to in order rock a side gig, that sense of ease speeds up the results we’re hoping for.
And you can allow yourself to enjoy the good old days while you’re still in them.
What can you allow yourself to appreciate more, starting today?