I was at an entrepreneurial networking breakfast recently and was cornered by another new author at the buffet line. This writer immediately launched into an attack on the publishing industry: “People don’t buy books anymore! Publishing houses are antiquated! Did you have a shitty publicist too? There’s no future in being a writer!”
There I was, enthusiastically about to bite into my chocolate chip muffin and sip my English breakfast tea, when I felt all of my senses being assaulted at once. And at 8 a.m., I just couldn’t handle it. I mumbled, “I need to speak to the host,” left the angry dude standing alone, and gave him a wide berth until I slipped outta there just after 9.
On the subway, I started thinking, What does that writer hope for, exactly? Does he really believe those things? If so, does he think it’s going to get better? He could have been having an off-day, but it didn’t sound like he was enjoying his career (or life) at all.
And that made me sad. Because I know a lot of us feel this way. Like my underpaid friend Louise who wistfully repeats, “When I win the lottery…” and my single friend Evan who’s always going on failed dates and jokes, “Man I can’t wait for my life to begin… where is he?”
Well, your life’s begun, my friend. Whether you realize it or not (or like it or not). Here are some ideas on how to like your life more, just as it is:
1. Focus on what’s going right.
Even if you just got fired or ghosted (and the date went so well!), do you still have the funniest best friend on the planet? Do you still have the comfiest chair in your living room? Are you spending the holidays with a parent or two who did their very best for you? As Wayne Dyer said, “When you change how you look at things, the things you look at change.”
Which 4-5 things are going right for you right now? List them. And look around. Not everyone is as lucky as you, are they?
2. Count your years and average out what’s left.
Anyone who lives to 83 gets 1,000 months.
My mother-in-law recently told me she was looking at photos of herself with her three kids 20 years ago. At the time of the photos, she was thinking, I’m so overwhelmed! I’m not doing a good job! But now she wishes she had thought, Look at my figure! I was a fun mum! I was in my prime! Will you be thinking something like this in your later years?
I’m 34. If I’m mega lucky and live till 85, I’ve lived over 1/3 of my years. That’s 51 summers left, 51 more Christmases with my husband (if we’re both lucky), and 51 more springs blossoming to life in Central Park. Not so much when you pause and calculate, right?
Think of all the things you want to do with your life—what are you waiting for? Today is the youngest you’ll ever be.
3. Decide it’s the best time of your life.
Say it aloud. “Now is the best time of my life.” Say it in the mirror. Repeat it 3-4 times. What comes up for you? Probably the thing that’s been holding you in a negative pattern for some time—your weight, your belief you’re not smart or attractive enough, or your deep fear that maybe other people are just better or more normal than you are.
Guess what? We all feel that way: uncertain, lonely, scared sometimes, a bit of a fraud. It doesn’t stop the clock from ticking or your life from passing. Say to yourself, “I’m willing to release the belief that…..” and share with your reflection what’s holding you back from fully enjoying your life.
My client did this exercise recently and released the fear that she’s too old to begin again in a new career. And it proved to be untrue! She’s been repeating it daily and just landed her first gig as a paid writer. When she told me, my first thought was, “See! The buffet man was wrong! I wish he could hear this and feel better!” But he’d probably be closed off to the news. Where are you closed off? It’s OK. Just know that whatever’s closed was once open. And you can always go back.
This article originally appeared in Greatist.com