Do you ever feel like you can never catch up? Do you ever feel like just as you get to know and deeply understand a thing, that it suddenly becomes last month’s, last quarter’s status quo, and there is another group already privy to the next generation and progressing forward? Its most obvious in professional settings where time is expensive, and if you ever take a minute to breathe, a competitor will see that chance and pounce on an opportunity that you missed. There’s no time to revel in accomplishments, no time to step back and review what we’ve learned. And even if there is, its always framed as “what can we learn from the past to improve the future?” These environments are designed to optimize the real return on investments. That is simply the paradigm that a capitalist society produces. But when we spend our entire professional lives drinking this Kool-Aid, it becomes very easy to bring this mindset with you through all the other aspects of life outside of work.
This is quite clearly why Western, advanced societies are known for living constantly stress-filled lives, never being happy, having constant anxieties, and never really appreciating the now because we’re endlessly anticipating the next. I am becoming more guilty of this than I care to admit. There are so many things that I want right now. So many desires, and I’m constantly juggling and weighing the merits of each against the others. But I rarely stop to remind myself that objectively, holistically, I’m doing pretty damn well.
The fact is we live in the single most remarkable, heavenly era of human existence. Right now. Today and tomorrow and the rest of our lives. Yet how often do any of us remember to appreciate that? The mindset of consistently chasing a moving target, always lagging behind someone or something else will only lead to perpetual discontent and reaching the end of our lives wishing we had stopped to smell more roses along the way. Sure some of us have it better than others of us. But that will always be the case, no matter how well off we become. There will always be people that are more fortunate than we are. So why lose sleep over it? Why commit time and energy worrying about it when its so much easier to not and be happy for what we do have here and now?
Its a balance, of course. I do have responsibilities that simply necessitate constant planning and foresight. But that doesn’t exclude the ability to stop for a second and watch the moving target pass on by. Without a doubt, there will be another target to chase soon enough.