Losing count…

November 3, 2013 — 29 Comments

Where are we? Do the days ever matter anymore?
Have I lost count? Yes.
When? I don’t remember. Probably around the time that I realized that it wasn’t about the days anymore, it wasn’t about counting down as if day 1000 was the goal. That day 1000 may never come just as tomorrow may never come as just as planning for the future keeps us facing the future, you cant place the future on a pedestal as being the point. Because it isn’t the point.

Now is the point. Just now.

Before I realized this I would only tolerate the now seeing it as an annoyance, an obstacle I had to somehow overtake so I could finally claim everything that I knew was waiting for me in the future.
All that happiness, all those good times, all the pay off for all of the ‘now’ I had to put up with….

I’m being serious and I think we humans do it a lot. If I wasn’t happy it was ok because I was going to be happy ‘in the future’ If I wasn’t living how I wanted to live it was ok because I was going to do so ‘in the future’ I didn’t feel ok about who I was because I would be confident ‘in the future’
I don’t remember when this mentality started changing for me but it was recent and it has been everything.

The future wasn’t sure I realized. All that happiness and confidence and resolve to do things better that I had pinned to some future date on the calendar made me apathetic in my present. Perhaps it even made me lazy, procrastinating the worst thing you can procrastinate with: My own peace.
Goals and dreams are a positive thing, but like most things that are initially positive, I corrupted my dreams by expecting too much of their realization.

I have a dream of graduating from university with a nursing degree, which in itself is positive. Education is positive, working in a field I love is positive, wanting to accomplish something that is challenging is positive but I began pinning more expectations on that one dream than the dream itself could carry: When I graduate I will be happy, when I graduate I will be accomplished, when I graduate I will start living how I want to live.
The dream went from being something to walk towards to being the reason I wasn’t yet happy, accomplished or living…Because it hadn’t yet been realized.
When I took that healthy goal and made it into the future moment where all the things I was unsatisfied with would be resolved, I let myself off the hook to be accountable for why they weren’t resolved now.
I did it with many things. I did it with my body: When I am such and such weight I will be happy and beautiful. When I have crossed off 1000 single days then I will be accomplished, when the future comes I will start living….It was as if the only reason I was alive today was to get to some place in my future. Again: I was tolerating my present, accusing it and neglecting it.
But that mindset is not right. It’s a lie. It’s a thief! It robbed me of any sense of satisfaction or peace for the place I was standing right now, right here.
I love the way Tom Stoppard describes it: “Because children grow up, we think a child’s purpose is to grow up. But a child’s purpose is to be a child’

I used to consider the purpose of now being only for the sake of the future. What I realize now is that life isn’t scheduled to begin when I have decided it will begin, I cant hold some unfulfilled dream, some yet to realize goal, some yet to arrive date in the future as being accountable for the reason I am unhappy or not enjoying the life I hoped I would live, and not only because tomorrow may never come, but because life doesn’t come in tides.
As you may have read in the heart of life is good, I was initially devastated by the fact that my graduation was to be delayed by one year. Why? Because I saw the life I wanted to live, my sense of accomplishment, my happiness as having been delayed by a year because that’s where I had it all scheduled: Graduation day.

What a tragic waste of all those days which I lived only for the sake that it bought me closer to that future date.

I was devaluing my present. I was resenting it, biding my time for that moment where I would finally start living. But what if graduation never comes? Because it may not you know. Monday is never a sure thing friends and while our hope for it spurs us in its direction, the moment we begin relying on it for more than what it is we lose the value of this moment, which is the only thing we are guaranteed.

In a few days I will be getting on a plane to go home to New Zealand. We are currently sleeping in a holiday home I rented short term and nothing in this home belongs to me. Everything my two sons and I own can fit into a large suitcase.  In other words: I am essentially homeless and have less shiny possessions than most keen eyed crows. When we arrive I have no plans other than to see my friends, my mother and my sisters. The reason being: I miss them all.  I could have stayed here and worked all summer. That would have meant more money to do more of the things I want to do but all I want to do right now, and all I ever really want to do is see my family and play over at my friend house and when I asked myself point blank whether I was happy and I answered that I was not, I then asked what makes me happy.
My friends and my family do.
That then because the most important thing to do. Right now. Right here: Vanessa, go home.
Keep pointed in the direction of your future but stop and ask yourself: are you happy? Are you mate? ARE YOU HAPPY?
If you are not happy then what makes you happy? Figure it out and then do that.  Keep studying if studying makes you happy and/or if the job you will gradate into will make you happy but don’t endure unhappiness because you have it all scheduled to arrive at the end of the rainbow AKA: the future. That’s believing in Santa Clause and we’re adults so we should stop make believing our way out of our nagging restlessness and discontentment and face up to the fact that if we aren’t happy NOW and don’t feel proud of the life we lead NOW then we could be gambling with the most precious equity we have: Our own peace, in a game where the stakes are just too high.

Provided March 2014 comes I will return to University to begin the last year of my studies and I look forward to it. Provided I live until March 14th 2015 I will release myself to date again if I want to, and I look forward to it, but I don’t have any more expectation of my graduation or my ability to date again other than I will have a degree and I might meet a man I will love. I cant expect those events to grant me peace or happiness if I am not at peace or happy now because if I die without graduating what does it matter? If I die without marrying again, what does it matter? If I die without peace or without happiness, then that will be the greatest tragedy and as Monday may not come, I had to take the responsibility of it all off the shoulders of future Vanessa and put it back in the hands on now. Vanessa now.

In case you were curious it has been 514 days. In case you were wondering I have been faithful to the promise and how do I feel about it all now that I have over 500 days to reflect back on? It has been the best thing I have ever done. I stopped counting the days because it stopped being a countdown. I realized I was so content being alone, so capable of being alone that it became a a way of life for me and one that allows me the space to meditate on the things that are important to me, chew over questions I had set aside for the rainy days and find a real peace in solitude because who knows how long I will be alone for, and even after I fall in love, who knows how long that love will last. The only thing I am sure of is that I will be stuck with me for the rest of my life and it sure has been a pleasure getting to know who I am.

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29 responses to Losing count…

  1. 

    being stuck with you sounds like heaven. Keep up the good work <3

  2. 

    Vanessa, great post as usual! But I think you should know that when I tried to view your website, I got the following error from WordPress: “onethousandsingledays.wordpress.com is no longer available.
    This blog has been archived or suspended for a violation of our Terms of Service.” The only way I was able to view this was to click on “comment” in my wordpress reader/feed thing. Maybe contact wordpress and find out why they disabled your blog?? Love you girl, keep up the good work. :)

  3. 

    Vanessa, this is wonderful. I have been confronted with the Gift of Now several times over the years. It is always eye-opening. Thanks for re-gifting/reminding me of the power of joy and contentment in the moment (in the day). The promise of happiness is always more relevant and acheiveable now/today than in any future date. Continued blessings and joy to you.

  4. 

    Reblogged this on Get Up & Walk, Ride, or Fly and commented:
     I have been confronted with the Gift of Now several times over the years. Yet still, it is always eye-opening when others re-gift/remind me of the power of joy and contentment in the moment (in the present day). The promise of happiness is always more relevant and acheiveable now/today than in any future day. Blessings and joy to you all today.

  5. 

    Been through similar experiences. You’re figuring it out way sooner than I did so good for you.

  6. 

    This post reminded me of one of my favorite pieces of writing. It has become a guidepost for me over the past fifteen years. I hope you don’t mind me sharing it here. I was hoping you’d post something soon–glad to read your words today. Happy to hear you are doing well, and living in the now!!

    THE STATION

    By Robert J. Hastings
    TUCKED AWAY in our subconscious minds is an idyllic vision. We see ourselves on a long, long trip that almost spans the continent. We’re traveling by passenger train, and out the windows we drink in the passing scene of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at a crossing, of cattle grazing on a distant hillside, of smoke pouring from a power plant, of row upon row of corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of mountains and rolling hillsides, of city skylines and village halls, of biting winter and blazing summer and cavorting spring and docile fall.

    But uppermost in our minds is the final destination. On a certain day at a certain hour we will pull into the station. There will be bands playing and flags waving. And once we get there so many wonderful dreams will come true. So many wishes will be fulfilled and so many pieces of our lives finally will be neatly fitted together like a completed jigsaw puzzle. How restlessly we pace the aisles, damming the minutes for loitering, waiting, waiting, waiting for the station.

    However, sooner or later we must realize there is no one station, no one place to arrive at once and for all. The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly outdistances us.

    When we get to the station that will be it!” we cry. Translated it means, “When I’m 18 that will be it! When I buy a new 450 SL Mercedes Benz, that will be it! When I put the last kid through college that will be it! When I have paid off the mortgage that will be it! When I win a promotion that will be it! When I reach the age of retirement that will be it! I shall live happily ever after!”

    Unfortunately, once we get “it,” then “it” disappears. The station somehow hides itself at the end of an endless track.

    “Relish the moment” is a good motto, especially when coupled with Psalm 118:24: “This is the day which the Lord hath made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.” It isn’t the burdens of today that drive men mad. Rather, it is regret over yesterday or fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves who would rob us of today.

    So, stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, go barefoot more often, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets, laugh more and cry less. Life must be lived as we go along. The station will come soon enough.

    (This version of “The Station” made its first debut in Ann Landers’ Column on May 17, 1981.)

    “Dear Ann Landers: I wrote a little essay that appeared in the Illinois Baptist and I am sending it to you with permission to share it with your readers if you wish.” Robert J. Hastings, Editor.

    “Dear Robert Hastings: It’s a beauty. Thank you for sending it on.” Ann Landers.

  7. 

    Reblogged this on My New Life and commented:
    I love what she is doing! Please read

  8. 

    I absolutely love this:
    “I was devaluing my present. I was resenting it, biding my time for that moment where I would finally start living. But what if graduation never comes? Because it may not you know. Monday is never a sure thing friends and while our hope for it spurs us in its direction, the moment we begin relying on it for more than what it is we lose the value of this moment, which is the only thing we are guaranteed”.
    Brilliant post Vanessa, glad you are posting frequently again :).

  9. 

    great stuff Vanessa. Hopefully see ya around…I live around the corner from your mum. Pop in :)

  10. 

    Today I will be happy!! Not in the future, or when things are seemingly perfect, but right here, right now, I will be happy!! I came to this realization a few weeks ago—that I needed to get busy living again. And I have done exactly that. Nice to know you have discovered this too. :) Feels wonderful, doesn’t it?

  11. 

    Great writing and realization! Bravo!

  12. 

    Thank you for this. Came at exactly the time I needed to hear it.

  13. 

    I remember those days. I had to get knocked down to find a sense of peace, but every day now is one more day of meditations at will, projects of interest, readings of prose or learning something new.

    I’ve been single a long time…it has occurred to me that realistically I am married to my relationship with God…it’s the most peaceful I have ever been in all of my life.

  14. 

    I believe life gives you what you need at the proper time. When I first lost my marriage I found your site and have been following for a year now. While I did not make a public commitment to be singe as you did I knew it would be best for the forseeable future to remain solo and to learn to love myself and discover the joys of living life alone before one day making another commitment to someone else.

    This post is really beautiful, and once again coming at a perfect time. I’m a perfectionist and often feel that I can’t be 100% happy now because I’m not “perfect”. But having gained a little clarity about myself in the past year I know I’ll never feel perfect. There will always be something more to attain – more money, a “better” number on the scale, nicer things, etc. The truth is that I have so much to be grateful for and that if I take an honest inventory, I’m happier now than I’ve been in a long time, even with so much left on my “to do/bucket” list.

  15. 

    Vanessa, You are a brilliant girl! what wisdom in this post. I have a youtube link for you. This is from my heart to you BECAUSE BECAUSE because

    God Bless you Van…:)

  16. 

    I apologise in advance for all the men who will throw themselves at you and cat call you.

    But it sounds like you have arrived.
    Time is relative.
    You are who you need to be for the chalanges you face today. They will help you become the person you need to be to face the challanges of tomorrow.

    I’m still praying for you. Much joy, peace, and love my dear.
    Andrew

    • 

      :-) I like that way of thinking and you are so right. If we try to tackle problems we perceive or imagine to be in our future we are tackling issues our present self isn’t ready or cut out to deal with because as you say, we are the person we need to be at this moment to enjoy and face the world and circumstances of this moment. Trying to solve our forecasted situation is futile and exhausting.
      Thank you once again for your words, I was lying here in New Zealand having a mini panic attack about what my plans were for the future because I never take my own advice but I’ll take yours now I think, and relax. :)

  17. 

    Lovely post.You are an aspiring young lady .Have a wonderful Holiday season.jalal

  18. 

    I am delighted to read this – my daughter needs to read these words, and I will pass them on to her! Thanks

  19. 

    Nothing as useful as self-confidence and peace of mind.

  20. 

    What a lovely post. This is an idea I’ve been trying to make stick for myself too the last couple years. Not so easy to live it, but I’m trying! Thank you for your gentle wisdom, a reminder of what matters.

  21. 

    Your ability to be honest with yourself and get back to adhering to what truly satisfies is beautiful.

    This post also reminded me of something a friend recently wrote on my blog:
    http://woundedbybeauty.wordpress.com/2013/12/02/oh-celibate-brother-where-art-thou/

  22. 

    Although I believe you are far more good at living this now-lifestyle, I couldn

  23. 

    ‘t have said it any better myself. Lovely, you are gorgeous. Keep up the good work!

    (somehow this became two comments.. well, you got my point!)

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