“If I just made $10k more a year, my financial stress would go away.”
“Only 5 more pounds to go and I’ll be good.”
“I just need there to be like 3 more hours in a day!”
We all say those kinds of things all the time. I’ve been thinking about why we have that kind of mindset and where it comes from. Those statements may not seem like a big deal, but I when I stop to think about it, I realize when I say them, it’s coming from a place of very real dissatisfaction.
Want to make more money? Join the club. When I first moved to town, I made $11/hr and was working an average of 37 hours per week. Not exactly living the high life. You know what, though? Somehow that amount of money was enough - it was enough for me to live on, and I didn’t feel like I was depriving myself of having fun. Obviously since then, my pay has gone up, along with bills and life expenses. (Side note: Listen Nashville people, I love this city, but everyone moving here for the heck of it can slow it down, because you’ve doubled the cost of my rent in 3 years.)
I’ve been told, “no amount of money will ever be enough. You will always want more.” And the really prideful part of me has always inwardly responded, “Yeah but I’m not that selfish of a person. I for real only have to make this much more and I’ll be happy.”
Well guess what? The amount I think I need is always going up. Yeah, budgets change and the cost of living rises, but also the more money I make, the more I want to spend it on other things that didn’t seem important to me before. Suddenly now I can’t live without overly priced granola bars and regularly-scheduled manicures (I don’t actually get those regularly, but a girl can dream).
Wanting to make more money is just one example. But to use an already over-used cliche, the grass really does always seem greener on the other side. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at someone else’s life and just thought, “If I had a relationship like that” or “If I had that job, then I would be happy with where I’m at and how my life is going.”
Obviously it’s not always a problem to desire change or work towards a goal. That’s not what I’m talking about here. I think the real questions is, what is the “why” of your unsettledness. Want to lose weight and feel healthier? Great. But are you waiting to start a relationship with somebody because you think you have to look a certain way before you’re worthy of attention? Nope nope - won’t work.
Have you changed career paths 5 times already and still hate what you’re doing? Maybe you truly haven’t found the right fit for you yet - I don’t doubt that can happen. But also, is it possible that you’re never going to be satisfied because you’re relying on your job too much to bring you a sense of worth and social status?
Your worth is not found in what you do. It’s not found in how much money you make. It’s not based in how many friends you have or how busy your schedule is.
We say we all know that - after all, social media is plastered with comments about knowing our self-worth and how it shouldn’t be based on material things or physical attributes.
But you do really believe that? Actually, let me sound less accusatory. Do I really believe that? Do I live my life like I believe it? Do the things I say about myself and other people reflect that?
I’d say I give it a solid effort, but I also fail at it all the time. I’ll say I don’t care what I look like, but before you know it, a bad hair day comes along and suddenly I want to put a paper bag over my head and mourn the fact that I’ll never look like a runway model. I tell people I don’t care what my job title is or if I’m dating anyone, but then why do I roll my eyes every time I see someone post about something on Instagram that I don’t have?
So, when will “enough be enough?” Will I ever have a moment where I take a look around and say, “I’ve made it.” Who knows, maybe. But if that moment ever happens, I am certain of one thing: I won’t have that thought because I’m ever satisfied with what’s in my bank account. Material things can be lost in an instant. Physical appearance changes. Even our abilities and talents can be forgotten or lost.
I can still chase dreams and accomplish goals. But I want to do those things because it brings me joy, not because I’m relying on them for affirmation. I love playing music. I love working out. Take away my ability to play an instrument or my physical strength, and it would be really. hard. But I would hope that my character would stay the same - I would still be me, and life wouldn’t end.
As morbid as that sounds, it's also pretty freeing. It takes away the need to compare and measure up to other people. If I see another friend get engaged, I can be happy for them because I’m not basing my worth on my relationship status. If someone I know gets a job I wanted, I can be disappointed but also know that I’m not less of a person because I didn’t get the position.
So, to sum up. I’m gonna keep dreaming, and I’m gonna keep working hard. But I’m also gonna work my hardest to be content with me, exactly as I am and where I’m at in life. I may not love everything all the time, but I don’t want to waste my life wishing things were different and waiting for the Next Best Thing. I have zero clue where I’m gonna end up tomorrow, let alone 10 or 25 years from now. BUT. I do know that I want to make the most of whatever circumstances I have today.
Happy Sunday everyone!