The Grass is Always Greener

Before I start talking about what’s on my mind today I wanted to say how how much I appreciated all of your comments on my last post. You were all extremely supportive and encouraging and I couldn’t have asked for more. Your thoughts were just what I needed to hear, so thank you all so much!

Now, today…

I’ve been thinking more and more about how much my life is going to change after graduation.

I get very exciting when thinking about change. I felt this way right before I graduated high school, before I graduated college, and before I moved to New York. The anticipation and the huge opportunities that I can see before me make me feel like I can do anything. I can feel myself dreaming of how things will be when I get to that point (in this situation, when I move back to Austin) and thinking of how wonderful and perfect everything will be.

But then I think back to when I graduated from college. I knew I would be moving to France for a year. A year by myself in a foreign country. I thought the possibilities were endless- and really, they were. I could do whatever I wanted. But when I got there, it wasn’t as great as I imagined. I still let my insecurities and fears hold me back. I didn’t embrace each situation and I didn’t always make the most of my time. I spent that year day dreaming about living in New York.

And now that I’m in New York I see myself doing the same thing. I’m thinking of the future. I’m not cherishing my time here. Yes, there are moments when I’m completely and perfectly happy. I’ve experienced things in this city that I wouldn’t have done otherwise and I’ve grown tremendously. But still, I find myself thinking about much better things will be when I can move away from here and start over somewhere else.

I know this is common. I know a lot of people do the same thing. I just don’t want to waste the time I have now because I know I’m going to miss it when it’s gone.

How have you learned to cherish your time? How do you make the most of it without getting lost in thoughts about the future?

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44 responses to “The Grass is Always Greener

  1. I’m constantly daydreaming of another place. To cherish my time, though, I like to do things that I can only do here. Like hiking. (Yes, I know, you can hike in more places than Tennessee.) I hike and look at the beautiful Tennessee mountains, feeling the breeze, looking at the beautiful waterfalls (and this is all about five minutes from my house); and I know, it can’t be like that anywhere else. Not in that way, at least. It reminds me to appreciate where I live.

  2. I’m constantly daydreaming of another place. To cherish my time, though, I like to do things that I can only do here. Like hiking. (Yes, I know, you can hike in more places than Tennessee.) I hike and look at the beautiful Tennessee mountains, feeling the breeze, looking at the beautiful waterfalls (and this is all about five minutes from my house); and I know, it can’t be like that anywhere else. Not in that way, at least. It reminds me to appreciate where I live.

  3. I used to live my life with one foot way in front of the other. I would spend so much time thinking about, and planning for, the future, that I was rarely ever ‘in the moment’ and enjoying what I actually had. Days, weeks, months would go by I had nothing to show for them, save for more plans for the future.

    That line of thinking essentially led me to always bank my happiness on the future. That’s not to say that aspirations for the future aren’t important, because they are, but so is learning to appreciate what you have in the here and now.

    The reality is that we are not promised tomorrow. We have no way of knowing what could happen, and there is no guarantee that things will turn out the way we want, no matter how good our intentions. So, to invest too much of yourself into an uncertain future seems like a recipe for disappointment.

    I am asked often how I learn to be so ‘in the moment’ and enjoy life so much. I have a hard time articulating an answer to that question, but I suppose it is because somewhere along the way I realized that our control over the future is somewhat of an illusion. All we can really be certain of is what we have now, and so it makes sense to really stop and appreciate it for what it’s worth.

    (By the way, I was listening to DMB as I was typing this comment, and his song “Cry Freedom” came on. Part of the lyrics to that song are, “The future is no place to better your days”–how fitting!)

  4. I used to live my life with one foot way in front of the other. I would spend so much time thinking about, and planning for, the future, that I was rarely ever ‘in the moment’ and enjoying what I actually had. Days, weeks, months would go by I had nothing to show for them, save for more plans for the future.

    That line of thinking essentially led me to always bank my happiness on the future. That’s not to say that aspirations for the future aren’t important, because they are, but so is learning to appreciate what you have in the here and now.

    The reality is that we are not promised tomorrow. We have no way of knowing what could happen, and there is no guarantee that things will turn out the way we want, no matter how good our intentions. So, to invest too much of yourself into an uncertain future seems like a recipe for disappointment.

    I am asked often how I learn to be so ‘in the moment’ and enjoy life so much. I have a hard time articulating an answer to that question, but I suppose it is because somewhere along the way I realized that our control over the future is somewhat of an illusion. All we can really be certain of is what we have now, and so it makes sense to really stop and appreciate it for what it’s worth.

    (By the way, I was listening to DMB as I was typing this comment, and his song “Cry Freedom” came on. Part of the lyrics to that song are, “The future is no place to better your days”–how fitting!)

  5. insomniaclolita

    I get like that too, always most excited about how things will happen and it made me miss out on quite a few things..I think you have to balance both, appreciating things in the present time because there’s.nothing worse than regrets..

  6. insomniaclolita

    I get like that too, always most excited about how things will happen and it made me miss out on quite a few things..I think you have to balance both, appreciating things in the present time because there’s.nothing worse than regrets..

  7. One of my all time favorite quotes is Carpe Diem, seize the day. While tomorrow is fun to dream about and wish for, all any of us are guaranteed is today. I constantly stuggle with this. Right now my job is not the best and I’m unhappy. Its so easy to wish away the week. I try to find little things to be happy about during the work day — an email from a friend, a text message. I cherish the nights with family and friends. I try to take life one day at a time. While I plan for the future, I don’t hinge all my dreams and happiness on it. Its something that I always need to keep in mind. You’ll find your balance, being aware of it is half the battle.

  8. One of my all time favorite quotes is Carpe Diem, seize the day. While tomorrow is fun to dream about and wish for, all any of us are guaranteed is today. I constantly stuggle with this. Right now my job is not the best and I’m unhappy. Its so easy to wish away the week. I try to find little things to be happy about during the work day — an email from a friend, a text message. I cherish the nights with family and friends. I try to take life one day at a time. While I plan for the future, I don’t hinge all my dreams and happiness on it. Its something that I always need to keep in mind. You’ll find your balance, being aware of it is half the battle.

  9. Oh my word. If I had the answer to that question, I would be a happy girl. I think we are all always looking for something more. No matter how happy we are with out life. And it’s not that what we have isn’t enough, per say. It’s just that curiousity that makes us wonder what a different life would be like. We are going through this feeling now, with our move to Charlotte next year.

  10. Oh my word. If I had the answer to that question, I would be a happy girl. I think we are all always looking for something more. No matter how happy we are with out life. And it’s not that what we have isn’t enough, per say. It’s just that curiousity that makes us wonder what a different life would be like. We are going through this feeling now, with our move to Charlotte next year.

  11. < < How have you learned to cherish your time? How do you make the most of it without getting lost in thoughts about the future? > >

    By doing exactly what you just did and stopping for a moment to appreciate your surroundings. My "mantra" has long been "wherever you are, be all there," and I have to CONSTANTLY remind myself of this because I'm always looking to the next step. I am in complete admiration of you though for being able to look back at the places you've been in the last few years and know that you pursued what you wanted.

    Enjoy the time you have in NYC. Be all there. And then when you get to Austin or wherever your next step is, be all THERE.

    Exciting!!!

  12. Sorry, I meant to say No matter how happy we are with “our” life, not “out.”

  13. < < How have you learned to cherish your time? How do you make the most of it without getting lost in thoughts about the future? > >

    By doing exactly what you just did and stopping for a moment to appreciate your surroundings. My "mantra" has long been "wherever you are, be all there," and I have to CONSTANTLY remind myself of this because I'm always looking to the next step. I am in complete admiration of you though for being able to look back at the places you've been in the last few years and know that you pursued what you wanted.

    Enjoy the time you have in NYC. Be all there. And then when you get to Austin or wherever your next step is, be all THERE.

    Exciting!!!

  14. Sorry, I meant to say No matter how happy we are with “our” life, not “out.”

  15. notthelifeiordered

    Story of my life. I feel like I haven’t truly enjoyed my time in nyc because i’ve decided it isn’t the place for me so I dream of where I’ll be next. I wish I could just be in the moment, and sometimes I am able to but its rare. I forcibly have to tell myself to just relax, the future is coming, and it’ll only get here if i live life fully right now!

  16. notthelifeiordered

    Story of my life. I feel like I haven’t truly enjoyed my time in nyc because i’ve decided it isn’t the place for me so I dream of where I’ll be next. I wish I could just be in the moment, and sometimes I am able to but its rare. I forcibly have to tell myself to just relax, the future is coming, and it’ll only get here if i live life fully right now!

  17. remember moments

    I think this is a fault of our culture – to always be ‘forward-minded’. Most people are not good at living in the moment, our society does not really support it. It’s always focusing on one’s future, i.e. saving for retirement etc.

    I’m bad at living in the moment. For example, it’s 10:31am and all I can think about is leaving work and going out to dinner for my mom’s birthday tonight.

  18. remember moments

    I think this is a fault of our culture – to always be ‘forward-minded’. Most people are not good at living in the moment, our society does not really support it. It’s always focusing on one’s future, i.e. saving for retirement etc.

    I’m bad at living in the moment. For example, it’s 10:31am and all I can think about is leaving work and going out to dinner for my mom’s birthday tonight.

  19. that’s a tricky thing to do. i can compare it with my summer spent in minnesota, and when it was coming to an end i made it a point to do each thing in that last week that i knew i would miss. hiking out to the waterfalls, visiting my favorite coffee shop, hiking through the woods by my cabin, spending as much time as i could with the people there.

    i also spent that time reflecting on my time there. and reliving each memory.

    that last week has helped me hang on to what i found in minnesota that was so special. maybe you should make a list of things you love about NY and make it a point to visit, or do those things before you leave.

  20. that’s a tricky thing to do. i can compare it with my summer spent in minnesota, and when it was coming to an end i made it a point to do each thing in that last week that i knew i would miss. hiking out to the waterfalls, visiting my favorite coffee shop, hiking through the woods by my cabin, spending as much time as i could with the people there.

    i also spent that time reflecting on my time there. and reliving each memory.

    that last week has helped me hang on to what i found in minnesota that was so special. maybe you should make a list of things you love about NY and make it a point to visit, or do those things before you leave.

  21. I still struggle with this myself. I have moments where I realize how awesome my life is at this very moment and I just devour the moment and live in it. Other times? I look to the future for excitement and hope. Maybe that means I’m displeased with how things are now OR maybe that means I’m so happy with how things are now I want to ensure they are happy in the future? I’m not entirely sure.

    Either way, I know how you feel. I guess just taking it one minute at a time will allow us to live in the moment more? Maybe less of a scheduled life (I plan way too far in advance for my own good.)

    If you find the way, let me know!

  22. I still struggle with this myself. I have moments where I realize how awesome my life is at this very moment and I just devour the moment and live in it. Other times? I look to the future for excitement and hope. Maybe that means I’m displeased with how things are now OR maybe that means I’m so happy with how things are now I want to ensure they are happy in the future? I’m not entirely sure.

    Either way, I know how you feel. I guess just taking it one minute at a time will allow us to live in the moment more? Maybe less of a scheduled life (I plan way too far in advance for my own good.)

    If you find the way, let me know!

  23. I am very much a planner and an organizer and I find myself looking to the future all the time instead of focusing on the present. Especially now that I am about 50 days out from college graduation.

    While I know that living with your mind in the future is never a good thing, I know it is something about me that I won’t be able to change. So what I decided was that I would make more of an effort to do both. Live in the future but cherish the little things of now.

    So while I am constantly thinking about thins summer and my job, I am also planning small dinner parties or movie trips for friends. Nothing big, but I think that sometimes it is those small memories that we will cherish forever.

    I guess what I am saying is maybe do both. Plan and live. I don’t think you have to give up your future thoughts and plans, but also don’t give up on the present. Enjoy the small moments in life, it doesn’t have to be a monumental experience to be memorable and worthwhile.

    Hope it helps!

    Much love,

    Michelle

  24. I am very much a planner and an organizer and I find myself looking to the future all the time instead of focusing on the present. Especially now that I am about 50 days out from college graduation.

    While I know that living with your mind in the future is never a good thing, I know it is something about me that I won’t be able to change. So what I decided was that I would make more of an effort to do both. Live in the future but cherish the little things of now.

    So while I am constantly thinking about thins summer and my job, I am also planning small dinner parties or movie trips for friends. Nothing big, but I think that sometimes it is those small memories that we will cherish forever.

    I guess what I am saying is maybe do both. Plan and live. I don’t think you have to give up your future thoughts and plans, but also don’t give up on the present. Enjoy the small moments in life, it doesn’t have to be a monumental experience to be memorable and worthwhile.

    Hope it helps!

    Much love,

    Michelle

  25. Gwen B. (aka skinny bitch)

    I think Austin seems like it could be a comfort zone and since your family is there too, hopefully you wont have any problem with being insecure.

    When you love somewhere like NYC for so long, you don’t really take the time to “seize the day: I guess b/c you are so busy with the hustle and bustle of your own life. Be a tourist for a day and go to all your favorite places. Visit central park one last time with your friends, go to your favorite restaurant as a going away party, hit up 5th Avenue and window shop, eat a hot dog from a cart, go wild!

    At least thats how I would make the most of my last few days and try not to stress about moving. Having fun and being with your friends will hopefully keep your mind clear šŸ™‚

  26. Gwen B. (aka skinny bitch)

    I think Austin seems like it could be a comfort zone and since your family is there too, hopefully you wont have any problem with being insecure.

    When you love somewhere like NYC for so long, you don’t really take the time to “seize the day: I guess b/c you are so busy with the hustle and bustle of your own life. Be a tourist for a day and go to all your favorite places. Visit central park one last time with your friends, go to your favorite restaurant as a going away party, hit up 5th Avenue and window shop, eat a hot dog from a cart, go wild!

    At least thats how I would make the most of my last few days and try not to stress about moving. Having fun and being with your friends will hopefully keep your mind clear šŸ™‚

  27. I just started reading your blog and I love it!

    Ok, now that that’s out of the way, I completely understand how you’re feeling. I was so excited to move to New York after graduation, but once I realized it wasn’t really for me I kept daydreaming about life somewhere else. I think I missed out on some great things in the city because of it. Now I try to live more in the moment. It’s really hard, but I’m hoping with practice it will come more naturally to me.

  28. I just started reading your blog and I love it!

    Ok, now that that’s out of the way, I completely understand how you’re feeling. I was so excited to move to New York after graduation, but once I realized it wasn’t really for me I kept daydreaming about life somewhere else. I think I missed out on some great things in the city because of it. Now I try to live more in the moment. It’s really hard, but I’m hoping with practice it will come more naturally to me.

  29. I do the exact same thing! During college, I was so obsessed with leaving that I didn’t really experience anything there. Right now, I’m obsessed with figuring out what my next move is, with jobs, my boyfriend, where we’re going to live, what we’re going to do. Instead of just enjoying the fact we’re together and letting the future opportunities present themselves when it’s time. I am just not a patient person. It’s probably my biggest flaw.

  30. I do the exact same thing! During college, I was so obsessed with leaving that I didn’t really experience anything there. Right now, I’m obsessed with figuring out what my next move is, with jobs, my boyfriend, where we’re going to live, what we’re going to do. Instead of just enjoying the fact we’re together and letting the future opportunities present themselves when it’s time. I am just not a patient person. It’s probably my biggest flaw.

  31. I know EXACTLY how you are feeling. I always want to move somewhere new and exciting, then when I get there I realize it’s not that great. Now that I’ve gotten a lot of moving out of my system I have realized that nothing beats home where your friends and family are. Nowhere else will I be as comfortable. So, I have settled for traveling! šŸ™‚ A week or two in a new place should get the bug out of my system, right?
    Good luck with everything!!!

  32. I know EXACTLY how you are feeling. I always want to move somewhere new and exciting, then when I get there I realize it’s not that great. Now that I’ve gotten a lot of moving out of my system I have realized that nothing beats home where your friends and family are. Nowhere else will I be as comfortable. So, I have settled for traveling! šŸ™‚ A week or two in a new place should get the bug out of my system, right?
    Good luck with everything!!!

  33. I do this ALL the time. In Vancouver I found myself dreaming of Australia even though I was doing the exact thing I’d dreamed of for years. And then I came across this quote somewhere and it stuck with me. It reminded me that you need to cherish what you’re doing NOW, but still dream of the future because one day you’ll be there and fulfilling your dreams.

    “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”

  34. I do this ALL the time. In Vancouver I found myself dreaming of Australia even though I was doing the exact thing I’d dreamed of for years. And then I came across this quote somewhere and it stuck with me. It reminded me that you need to cherish what you’re doing NOW, but still dream of the future because one day you’ll be there and fulfilling your dreams.

    “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”

  35. I really experienced this while I was living abroad. The whole time I was looking forward to the future until I suddenly had to go home in a month and then I began to really appreciate the present and try to hold on to it as long as I could. Transition periods are always kind of odd in that way because all of a sudden something that seemed far away is not very far away at all. Good luck with what’s left of the semester and planning for the next part of your life, no matter where you end up living.

  36. I really experienced this while I was living abroad. The whole time I was looking forward to the future until I suddenly had to go home in a month and then I began to really appreciate the present and try to hold on to it as long as I could. Transition periods are always kind of odd in that way because all of a sudden something that seemed far away is not very far away at all. Good luck with what’s left of the semester and planning for the next part of your life, no matter where you end up living.

  37. I always seem to never really cherish my time 100%. I wish I did more memorable things my last few months at college in NY before I moved back to AZ. I was just too wrapped up in my feelings of being anxious to move back to AZ that when I finally moved back I missed college instantly.

    Now I’m trying to learn from that experience and appreciate things more and slowly.

    As of the future, I’m always thinking of the future (1-2 years ahead max) because I like to know what might and will happen.

  38. I always seem to never really cherish my time 100%. I wish I did more memorable things my last few months at college in NY before I moved back to AZ. I was just too wrapped up in my feelings of being anxious to move back to AZ that when I finally moved back I missed college instantly.

    Now I’m trying to learn from that experience and appreciate things more and slowly.

    As of the future, I’m always thinking of the future (1-2 years ahead max) because I like to know what might and will happen.

  39. I’ve run into this problem often in my life. I have hopscotched around for so long and therefore I always seem to be looking to the next thing so that I am prepared.

    I’m going to be a bit more practical in my solutions than just ‘be in the moment’. One of the best things I’ve found is to have some ‘in between’ time between places. Set aside at least two weeks in Austin without moving, starting a new job, and a hoopla of other things. Possibly you could move home for a bit until you find your place. Or schedule all of your interviews after you are in Austin.

    Often times, the last few months we are in a certain place (and the time we should be enjoying it the most) is spent completely planning for the next stage. And that’s often times practical and necessary because you need to prepare for a move/job/etc. But if you step back and save those preparations for once you are there, you will be able to enjoy your last time in NYC before moving.

    Additionally, I would encourage you to invite friends/family to NYC sometime during your last few months here. It will get you out doing touristy stuff and will remind you to be excited about being HERE while you are here. Maybe you could even set aside one week in NYC without school/work so that you can enjoy what the city has to offer before you leave.

    Once you get to Austin, you will wish you appreciated NYC more. So keep that in the back of your mind when you opt to order in and watch a movie instead of eat at some random restaurant down the street!

    And keep in mind that very few people have the luxury of living completely in the moment. Looking forward is not a bad thing – it is, often times, essential to be a successful individual. Just find the balance!

  40. I’ve run into this problem often in my life. I have hopscotched around for so long and therefore I always seem to be looking to the next thing so that I am prepared.

    I’m going to be a bit more practical in my solutions than just ‘be in the moment’. One of the best things I’ve found is to have some ‘in between’ time between places. Set aside at least two weeks in Austin without moving, starting a new job, and a hoopla of other things. Possibly you could move home for a bit until you find your place. Or schedule all of your interviews after you are in Austin.

    Often times, the last few months we are in a certain place (and the time we should be enjoying it the most) is spent completely planning for the next stage. And that’s often times practical and necessary because you need to prepare for a move/job/etc. But if you step back and save those preparations for once you are there, you will be able to enjoy your last time in NYC before moving.

    Additionally, I would encourage you to invite friends/family to NYC sometime during your last few months here. It will get you out doing touristy stuff and will remind you to be excited about being HERE while you are here. Maybe you could even set aside one week in NYC without school/work so that you can enjoy what the city has to offer before you leave.

    Once you get to Austin, you will wish you appreciated NYC more. So keep that in the back of your mind when you opt to order in and watch a movie instead of eat at some random restaurant down the street!

    And keep in mind that very few people have the luxury of living completely in the moment. Looking forward is not a bad thing – it is, often times, essential to be a successful individual. Just find the balance!

  41. Classy in Philadelphia

    Ugh, I am constantly looking forward (or backwards which is even worse!) and I really don’t know how to live in the moment. Sorry, that isn’t very helpful, but you’re definitely not alone.

  42. Classy in Philadelphia

    Ugh, I am constantly looking forward (or backwards which is even worse!) and I really don’t know how to live in the moment. Sorry, that isn’t very helpful, but you’re definitely not alone.

  43. Part fo me thinks that when you find yourself dreaming of the future, you know that it’s time to move on and you need a change. When life stops challenging you and you begin to dream of new and bigger things, that should remind you that you should start looking for something else.

    At the same time, as so many of the previous comments have said, I probably need to learn to ‘live in the moment’ more. I read a wonderful passage in a book a while ago which sums up the way I think completely! Here goes…

    “I have always, essentially, been waiting. Waiting to become something else, waiting to be that person I always thought I was on the verge of becoming, waiting for that life I thought I would have. In my head, I was always one step away. And through all that waiting, here I am. My life is passing day by day, and I am waiting for it to start. I am waiting for that time, that person, that event when my life will finally begin. I don’t want to wait anymore. I choose to believe that there is nothing more sacred or profound than this day. I choose to believe that there may be a thousand big moments embedded in this day, waiting to be discovered like tiny shards of gold.”
    —‘Cold Tangerines’, Shauna Niequist

    I am very much a quote person so am going to throw a few more at you while I have the chance, they include:

    “Death is more universal than life; everyone dies but not everyone lives.”
    — A Sachs

    and

    “Putting things off is the biggest waste of life. It snatches away the present by promising the future. The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today.”

    I don’t know if that really helps or not, I think living in the moment is a gradual, daily, concious decision. I’m at uni at the moment and I find it so easy to think that I will start living properly once I finish and have the freedom to do what I want. When in reality there is so much I could do right here where I am.

    Thank you for such a challenging post, hopefully I will start taking charge of each day now.

    Take care and let us know how it goes,
    Blue Eyes xxx

  44. Part fo me thinks that when you find yourself dreaming of the future, you know that it’s time to move on and you need a change. When life stops challenging you and you begin to dream of new and bigger things, that should remind you that you should start looking for something else.

    At the same time, as so many of the previous comments have said, I probably need to learn to ‘live in the moment’ more. I read a wonderful passage in a book a while ago which sums up the way I think completely! Here goes…

    “I have always, essentially, been waiting. Waiting to become something else, waiting to be that person I always thought I was on the verge of becoming, waiting for that life I thought I would have. In my head, I was always one step away. And through all that waiting, here I am. My life is passing day by day, and I am waiting for it to start. I am waiting for that time, that person, that event when my life will finally begin. I don’t want to wait anymore. I choose to believe that there is nothing more sacred or profound than this day. I choose to believe that there may be a thousand big moments embedded in this day, waiting to be discovered like tiny shards of gold.”
    —‘Cold Tangerines’, Shauna Niequist

    I am very much a quote person so am going to throw a few more at you while I have the chance, they include:

    “Death is more universal than life; everyone dies but not everyone lives.”
    — A Sachs

    and

    “Putting things off is the biggest waste of life. It snatches away the present by promising the future. The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today.”

    I don’t know if that really helps or not, I think living in the moment is a gradual, daily, concious decision. I’m at uni at the moment and I find it so easy to think that I will start living properly once I finish and have the freedom to do what I want. When in reality there is so much I could do right here where I am.

    Thank you for such a challenging post, hopefully I will start taking charge of each day now.

    Take care and let us know how it goes,
    Blue Eyes xxx

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