I recently decided to stop planning my future. Constant planning has been a lifelong habit, but so often, when I reached my goal or the opportunity to have what I wanted, it didn’t actually fulfill me in the way I thought it would, and I was onto the next goal. I had just used planning as a distraction!

I’m excited about being present and grateful for what I have right now. What if the circumstances of my current life are the exactly same in 10 years? Could I be happy with this/that life? Grateful for it? The old me would have said “Hell no. I want to live in a modern house I’ve designed myself on a gorgeous piece of property. I want the perfect balance between free time and a prosperous career that offers loads of creativity. I want a dog that doesn’t slobber. I want, I want, I want…..” Most recently I’ve complained that I’m too far from downtown or that I want to live where I’m surrounded by big trees. But I literally live 10 minutes from both a beautiful downtown and from nature. How many people can say that? We live in a nice house in a beautiful town with nice beaches and mountains, both of which I enjoy regularly. Our town is liberal with many like-minded people, and we have family and good friends here. I have no major health issues, a great relationship, freedom and time, and enough money to pay the bills.

I’ve so often focused on what I didn’t have. I can stop striving, stop grasping, stop seeking, stop yearning for what I envision as the perfect life. I’ve already made it to the mountain top. As a matter of fact, I was lucky enough to born on the mountain top! I was born in Santa Barbara, California in a time in history where food and clean water are plentiful, women are no longer the property of men, medical advances allow the majority of us to live long, healthy pain-free lives (compared to 100 years ago), and life is relatively easy. Too easy perhaps.

I’m regularly annoyed about having to do things I don’t want to do. How bad are those things really? I’m going to practice catching myself when this happens, and instead try to feel, really feel and not just think, how truly blessed I am. I’m not sure why I have a bad attitude about things I need to do. I can easily shift that to see those things as, at minimum, interesting experiences. Even if something is not that pleasant, I can see it as information, as data for my internal files and not put a label on the experience as good or bad. I’m very lucky to be alive and to have any experiences at all. The alternative is not to be alive which seems a bit worse, right? Just because an event or appointment is not on my ideal timeframe or exactly what I’ve chosen to do, that doesn’t mean it’s not an opportunity. It’s not all necessarily fun, but it’s all good. I can make it fun for myself just be witnessing my own thoughts and reactions. I can enjoy my own company. If I have to be with people I don’t enjoy, I can have fun inside my head experimenting with the situation. I’ve been such an Andy Rooney. But no one is paying me to critique the world on a national top-rated TV show.

I see what a blessed life I lead and I want to revel in it every day, soak it in. There’s no need to want more. Absolutely, I could be, should be, happy with this exact life 10 years from now. So now the challenge is to really practice this new attitude going forward, and not revert to my ambitious goal-setting ways.