I recently had an epiphany. I realized I had a very dangerous habit throughout much of my life. I’m always chasing tomorrow.
Instead of enjoying, absorbing, learning and growing through life’s seasons, I put all my energy into “finishing” each season. I dream the next part of life is a better season, a place I will enjoy so much more than what I’m living through today.
Growing up, I remember each school year just wanting to “finish” to get to the next summer. My overall goal was to finish school and get through college. I was not as concerned with absorbing each day as I was completing each day to get one step closer to finishing and moving on to my next stage in life.
After graduating college, I was single, and I just wanted to get married. I was often preoccupied with marriage and being “done” with being single. I was ready to move on to married life and that was much of where my mind was.
Once I was married and pregnant, I rushed through each of my four pregnancies. Yes, I was often extremely sick and completely exhausted, but even the glimmers of sweetness and joy of pregnancy were often overshadowed by my desire to get to the next thing. I wanted to “finish” my pregnancies and have the baby in my arms.
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I rushed through breastfeeding much of the time. Especially while breastfeeding my first two children I would count down the days to my “freedom” from breastfeeding.
Again — don’t get me wrong — breastfeeding was a huge sacrifice for me. I had bloody cracked nipples, mastitis many times, once of which made me so sick I went to the ER feeling like I was dying. There were also MONTHS of sleepless nights and no breaks because I was my children’s sole source of food. Even once they started eating other foods I was still nursing often for 13 to 22 months of each of their lives.
I’ve often thought: I just have to finish this and then the next thing is going to be really great.
>> RECOMMENDED RESOURCE :: Guide to Breastfeeding Resources In & Around Tarrant County <<
Is the Grass Greener?
The promise of a better next season is constantly motivating me, but also robbing me of the beautiful gifts and important lessons of my current season.
Last month my third child started kindergarten. I have “finished” another preschool season. We made it through another child’s early years.
I remember when this precious, tired child of mine was three years old and it felt like she would never start school. Her school days felt endlessly far away. Many of her younger days I just worked to finish. I just wanted to make it through the day to get to bedtime. This season is hard, if I just make it through this I’ll be able to enjoy next season . . . .
But now it’s more clear than ever that those preschool years were actually a gift. My third born is at a great age, but there are some sweet parts of her early years I’ll never have back.
Often in my desire to “finish” I rushed moments and seasons I’ll never get back. I left many life gifts unwrapped- too buys to stop and enjoy them on my rush to the next season.
>> RELATED READ :: Reflecting on 5 Years of Motherhood :: What Each Year Brought <<
Love the Imperfections
The irony is that the next season is never perfect. The next season is different and may offer some breaks as each season holds its own joys. But the next season will also hold unique challenges — many of which we may not have seen coming.
There’s a good chance the next season won’t be better at all. It may just be different.
Having small children is a lot physically. Having older children is a lot emotionally. Being pregnant is hard on your body. Having a newborn is hard on your mind. Being single is hard when you desire companionship and love. Being married is hard as you have to learn to share and compromise and put someone else first.
Whatever season we’re in is full of challenges and sacrifices. Whatever season we’re in is most likely hard. But this season also has unique sweet gifts only THIS season offers.
The next season will offer newness and even certain breaks from parts of parenting that were hard in the previous season. It will also close a door on parts of life we’ll never get back.
I want to stop chasing tomorrow. I want to enjoy the little gifts. So many of these gifts will not be around much longer.