Real Life: When enough is enough

be present | via vmac+cheese

This time of year is always filled with so many want tos and shoulds. It’s great, in many ways — I think the desire to evolve and better yourself are both wonderful qualities to have. But there’s one downside to always wanting the next best thing. I feel like sometimes, I forget to even appreciate what I have. Does this happen to you?

This is especially true with work related matters. As I look back on the last year, I can’t help but be proud of everything I’ve accomplished. That feeling lasts for a hot second before I find myself questioning where to go next, what else I can do, what I should update, and more. Especially in the online world, where things move and change so quickly, it’s easy to feel like you’re getting left behind, or, unfortunately, like what you do is often not good enough. For me, it’s always a balance to know when and where to push myself ahead, and when to just chill out and be satisfied.

In my own case, I spent so many years at jobs I didn’t like, dreaming about a life I wanted. Then I spent years working on building it. At times it’s still surreal to me that I started out at Point A and couldn’t see Point B on the horizon at all. And then I somehow managed to find myself there. For the record, Point B is a pretty awesome place to be, but I wonder, “What’s next? Where’s Point C?” And then I chastise myself and think, “But I’m happy with how things are now. Calm down for two seconds and enjoy it!” And then the argumentative side of my brain reasons, “But if you’re not thinking ahead and anticipating your next steps and your new goals, you’re bound to miss out on something big!” For now, I’m trying to take each day as it comes, plan what I can, and sit back and enjoy the ride the rest of the time. Because really, if you’re not doing the last part, what’s the point of life anyway?

How do you manage the two sides — the part of you that is content and happy, and the part that longs to arrive at Point B (or C…or D)? How do you strike the balance between pushing yourself, and not driving yourself insane? Inquiring minds want to know!

(PS – Since writing this post over the weekend, it seems like lots of other ladies feel this way too. Liz and Bri both published similar posts…must be something about 2013!)

{Image Credit: Sarah Dickerson for Chic Sprinkles; ‘Be Present’ print available here}

 

37 comments

  1. Gabrielle | Savvy Home said: replied:

    I’ve been feeling the exact same way! I’m so glad I’m not alone… For the record though, If anyone’s not being left behind, it’s you! You’re killing it lady, you deserve to sit back and enjoy life a little :) X

    9 Jan 2013 | Reply
  2. great point – i guess it’s good to take a little piece of each day and reflect on all the good you have – then take some time to look ahead – but mostly be present

    9 Jan 2013 | Reply
  3. SamW said: replied:

    I feel like I’m dealing with this a lot lately, in my personal and professional life. It’s constantly in the back of my mind, trying to figure out when/how my BF and I will get married; how/when will we save enough money for a house; where will that house be; when will I have kids; it goes on and on. I need to be better about appreciating the fact that I have a great BF, adorable dog, a stable job and a roof over my head.

    9 Jan 2013 | Reply
  4. Kirby said: replied:

    I have the habit of always wanting to move onto the next thing, and am making a point to try to live in the now!

    9 Jan 2013 | Reply
  5. I feel like this, pretty much always, and it isn’t good! I’ve been trying this year to just be content, not worry/stress so much, and live in the moment. Easier said than done, but this post is a great reminder!

    9 Jan 2013 | Reply
  6. rita said: replied:

    i struggle with constantly, in my career, my personal life, everywhere… unlike you, i often get so caught up in planning for the future that i don’t get anything done in the present! you clearly have mastered that and make things happen.

    i’ve found that compartmentalizing seems to help – my husband and i try to hold our conversations about big life changes (buying a house, having kids) till we are on vacation or at brunch or something so that we don’t get so caught up in that stuff during the day to day – we both work such long hours that we barely see each other as it is!

    for work, i try and set aside an hour or two each week to plan – it helps me stay focused during the regular days but makes me know i’m not missing any big steps. i also keep a random idea notebook (or lately, evernote!) with me at all times so i can jot stuff down as ideas strike – then i just think about them more during my weekly sessions if needed.

    it’s an ongoing process but i think just knowing how important it is to be present and content and happy is the first step… you will figure it out!

    9 Jan 2013 | Reply
  7. Andrea said: replied:

    I absolutely agree with what you are saying! On the very top of my resolution list for 2013 is ‘being content with what I have and where I am right now’. In a world as crazy and fast paced as ours, it’s so easy to forget how good our lifes actually are. So I’m trying to appreciate it more this year and stop stressing myself out too much. :)
    xo Andrea
    Wonderful and Marvelous

    9 Jan 2013 | Reply
  8. It’s the plight of the driven — nothing ever really satisfies. For me, I’ve found that I drive right through milestones and push and push on … and then I eventually hit burnout. I try to commemorate milestones with some sort of celebration or something. I also have to plan breaks to step away and refresh my mind. Hope that helps!

    9 Jan 2013 | Reply
  9. rita said: replied:

    sorry i wrote a book! clearly this one resonated with me!:)

    9 Jan 2013 | Reply
  10. Chelsea said: replied:

    It’s an interesting conundrum that I frequently find myself in in my personal and professional life. I actually purchased the Be Present print and it sits at my desk as a reminder to be in the moment and plan for the future, not obsess over it. I’d be interested to hear others tips and experiences with this! Great post!

    Chelsea
    Haute Child in the City

    9 Jan 2013 | Reply
  11. Giulia Doyle said: replied:

    I am a person that wants constant change – a libra that can often not decide. One day I want to live on a remote island renting boats to tourists and have my kids grow up barefoot, the other I want to be an executive and live in NYC. If I changed as much as my ideas change I’d never get anywhere, so I try to live by this motto:
    The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what you want MOST for what you want in.the.moment.

    9 Jan 2013 | Reply
    1. Bekah said: replied:

      I love that last line. So true. If only we’d all just be “in the moment” to let what we want in the moment slide back so we can focus on what we want most. Ladies, my hat is off to you all for trying so hard to stay focused. May we all keep long vision and big dreams, celebrate successes, no matter how small or big, and remember to breathe, enjoy, and be grateful.
      Cheers!

      9 Jan 2013 | Reply
  12. Victoria C said: replied:

    This was an issue for me last year. One of my 2012 goals was to be happy with the present. Because it pays off every time. I think it’s important to plan for the person you want to be. Have a vision, let it evolve, and act that way on a regular basis. You can’t focus on the other stuff because it is all out of your control. All you can control are your actions and thoughts.
    Four years ago I was happy, truly happy, being single and staying home and watching tv shows that excited me, e.g. Battlestar Galactica. Basically I was living my life in a way that made me happy. During that time I met my now-fiance.
    I’ve been working at a job that I hated from day 1 for the past three years. I had been actively searching and interviewing to get out. Last year I decided to stop searching and placed my energy on other things: we bought a house, planned our wedding for April of this year, and grew as a couple. I started imagining the woman I wanted to be and the focus was no longer all about finding a new job. I realized that who I am is not defined by what I do. Then the last week of the year I am offered a new job through an acquaintance. I haven’t started yet but I think it’s going to be amazing!
    It’s hard to live in the present, but I think it is something we should all strive for! Sorry for the novel! I just felt passionate about this.

    9 Jan 2013 | Reply
  13. Great question. I have yet to find out how to just live in the now and enjoy what I have. It seems like I am constantly looking ahead and planning my next step. I love and embrace change but sometimes I need to stop and smell the roses. I have an amazing apartment, boyfriend & family. Shouldn’t that be enough?

    9 Jan 2013 | Reply
  14. Christine B. said: replied:

    I can totally relate. It’s one of the potential downsides of being an overachiever. :) I’ve felt this way many times in my life, but the one that stands out the most is after I finished school and passed the bar exam. Everything was leading up to that moment. It had been a goal for so long, but once it was achieved, all I could think was “what’s next?” It was a mental exercise to try to be in that moment and appreciate it for what it was…still a struggle though.

    9 Jan 2013 | Reply
  15. Molly said: replied:

    I have been going through this exact contradicting thought process throughout the past week in particular. Especially since I’m only 22 and still in my first career job (but boy… sometimes I feel like I’m already 27). Just goes to show I need to slow down and live NOW in the present rather than always yearning for something bigger and better. Great post… you aren’t alone! I’m striving to be present like you! xx

    9 Jan 2013 | Reply
  16. brighton said: replied:

    I deal with this everyday. honestly, I have no way of dealing with this. And when I ask myself how I REALLY end up dealing with this issue, my answer is that sometimes I do. and sometimes I dont. Usually what ends up happening is that I’ll be super determined for a few days and will push myself. Then I’ll go through a burnt-out period where I will be super relaxed and “whatever” about everything. Then, eventually, I will get anxiety about getting behind or not pushing myself to be the best. And the whole cycle will start over again. haha. make sense?

    9 Jan 2013 | Reply
  17. I think the idea of being happy with the present is harder than it once was because we’re constantly being presented with new possibilities thanks to the never-stopping feed of updates from our 600 closest friends and 100 other bloggers.

    There’s always some new thing we’d not considered that suddenly becomes a goal (like blogging full-time, which has not been a viable profession for more than a few years), or some new thing to “covet” thanks to someone who posts about beautiful items every day. It happens in an instant – we want something new hours after getting/achieving what we wanted, or rarely feel satisfied because our list of wants and goals is growing faster than we can check them off.

    I’m super guilty of this, and have been thinking a lot about it lately. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one. Hopefully it will lead to a shift from “i want this ___” content to something new and fun.

    9 Jan 2013 | Reply
  18. I don’t think it’s a bad thing at all that you’re always looking forward. In fact, I think that’s a characteristic of a successful self-starter. Obviously if you’re stressed out about getting to point C like, yesterday, then perhaps it’s time to stop and smell the roses (and I’ve really loved watching your blog grow in the past year… I check back every day because I love it so much!). But realistically, I don’t think you should try to squash your ability to set goals too much… it’s one of the things that makes life fun and interesting!

    And on a lighter note, I know what you mean about always looking to the next thing. Lately I’ve been shopping a bit toooo much, and I find that each time I put something away in my closet I think ‘what’s next!?’. Um, hello, the four shirts you just bought are ‘next’. Enjoy them!

    9 Jan 2013 | Reply
  19. Maria @Savvynista said: replied:

    Thanks Victoria for sharing this and being so open! Last year I practiced living in the moment, it was a challenge and slightly uncomfortable but soon became second nature. I do believe in setting goals and having a vision but practicing serenity is key to reaching them. I too can get caught up in everyone else’s online life that look way more fabulous than mine and get envious.

    To snap me out of that, I have a sticky note on my computer that reads “What’s my purpose today?” That could even mean having lunch with a girlfriend and catching up on my guilty-pleasure reality shows. Anything that involves making me smile and others smile, that is my purpose of the day.

    Another savvy tip: I also set my alarm at certain points of my day that have personalized sayings like “Breathe deep & smile” or “Step outside for some fresh air”.

    9 Jan 2013 | Reply
  20. rox said: replied:

    unrelated, but I love that photo of the workspace you posted. in terms of setting goals, looking ahead- I totally hear you. my problem is that I’m always looking TOO FAR ahead..and that I don’t enjoy the NOW. I’m realizing (esp as I’m about to embark on some pretty big stuff…like my wedding) – I need to make more of an effort to enjoy the PRESENT.

    9 Jan 2013 | Reply
  21. Jessica said: replied:

    It’s as if you read my mind!

    9 Jan 2013 | Reply
  22. Sarah @ Accidentally Domestic said: replied:

    I do the same thing! I think it’s just part of human nature…at least for some of us.

    9 Jan 2013 | Reply
  23. I went to a new years party where I pulled two fortunes out a fish bowl. One said “Success is not a destination- It’s a journey” and the other said “The seeds you planted long ago will finally blossom.” I loved both of them and try to read them to myself everyday. Balance takes daily commitment… you ease up one day and you may find yourself on the floor. ;)

    xo

    9 Jan 2013 | Reply
  24. varsha said: replied:

    Victoria, Read the book written by Eckart Tolle

    POWER OF NOW

    This book will answer all your ???????

    9 Jan 2013 | Reply
  25. Kathy @ Beauty Palette said: replied:

    What a timely post. In addition to all the great books everyone else has mentioned, I found the “Happiness Hypothesis” incredible food for thought. Basically one of concepts he talks about is how despite our situation in life, once we get settled in or used to things, we all feel the same base level of happiness anyways. Funnily enough we are always striving for more, thinking it will make us so much happier, but we’ll just get used to it and want even more later! It never ends!

    9 Jan 2013 | Reply
  26. Preciously Me said: replied:

    I feel exactly the same! Today I’m at the point A and I finally decided to go forward to the point B, to try to have a job that I like and not to work only to work.
    I don’t know if I’ll reach the next point one day but just this step makes me happy and I try to enjoy every little second of my life no matter at what point I am because life is a gift that can end everyday ♥

    10 Jan 2013 | Reply
  27. The Yuppie Files said: replied:

    I have no idea, which is why my resolution this year was just to enjoy each moment. Reading everyone’s goals and ways to be more efficient is making me hyperventilate! I think sometimes we’re so focused on how to improve our lives that we forget to really live & enjoy them.

    So that’s what I’m trying to do. I think I’ll have freak out moments but I want to learn that always looking at the next step is now always the best thing to do!

    10 Jan 2013 | Reply
  28. Ashley said: replied:

    Such a relatable post. Here I am at Point A, visualizing Point B; the hardest part is figuring out the in-between! You have done great this year, Victoria, enjoy it!!

    10 Jan 2013 | Reply
  29. my word for 2013 is EMBRACE. because i suck at just embracing where i’m at, what’s coming my way and, frankly, what’s feasible to achieve. so, obvi, i can relate completely!

    10 Jan 2013 | Reply
  30. Becca said: replied:

    I can definitely relate with this! I feel like right now I have been working so hard to get to what is now SO close, but like you I’m already thinking about what’s next after that. I try to remind myself to celebrate the little accomplishments and be present.

    10 Jan 2013 | Reply
  31. Denise said: replied:

    Thank you all for sharing these thoughts! It is true, you must have a plan, and it is true you must be willing to jump off course for whatever is possible. so the balance is precarious! I am 57, my daughters are grown (and I miss them!) I own and run a restaurant with my husband. I am lucky to have come full circle in all of this as now we have time to dream and leap into new ideas, yet of course we are tied to the day to day operations and responsibilities. This is life and we are all so lucky to choose and to remember to enjoy the moment! Remember it lasts your whole life long so be happy!

    10 Jan 2013 | Reply
  32. [...] On the balance between living in the present and preparing for the future: Victoria’s post on when enough is enough. Reading her post was both refreshing because I felt a general sense of “me too!” [...]

    11 Jan 2013 |
  33. Lolly said: replied:

    Clearly there are SO many of us who can relate. I truly do believe there is something special about 2013. A few of my closest girlfriends and I are all talking about making our dreams a reality this year. Here’s to the journey ahead!

    24 Jan 2013 | Reply
  34. [...] (although here we are almost two months into 2013!). Erin calls it slow blogging. Victoria says enough is enough. I could sit here and quote about half of Megan’s what ALT Summit Taught Me post for all of [...]

    24 Feb 2013 |
  35. whitney said: replied:

    it’s such a fine line between perpetually improving and reflecting on successes – i feel like i can’t quite find the balance either. well said!

    25 Feb 2013 | Reply
  36. [...] Bright, clean and simply inspiring… via VMAC & Cheese [...]

    18 Mar 2013 |

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