I've been waiting all my life.
I was waiting to get my driver's license, finish high school, finish college, finish grad school. Whenever there was a tough semester or some unpleasantness to endure, I could find comfort in saying to myself, "This isn't it yet. This is just the hard work before it all pays off." I was waiting for things to get better.
Even after I finished my PhD, I've still been waiting... to get a "real job", to put down roots, to be a "real" adult. For years, I've only used those 3M sticky strips to hang things on the wall, instead of nails, because I didn't want to have to patch the holes when I moved again. I never wanted to get a dentist, buy the local paper, or buy the parka for the swim team I'm on because I thought I'd just be moving away in a year anyway. We kept putting off starting a compost pile because we thought we'd move away soon. I kept telling myself, "I'll do all that stuff when we get settled in the place we'll really live." I've always thought of myself as in a state of flux, only temporarily in any place until the next thing comes along. Well, I'm tired of waiting... and what's more, I don't think it's very healthy. So, my new year's resolution is to stop waiting.
Let's face it, I will probably never get a tenure track job, be able to afford to buy a house, or be able to afford to have kids.... so I need to stop waiting for those things to happen. I need to be ok with my life as it is. I need to enjoy each day and see that this *is* my life.
And it really isn't a bad life. We have enough money to survive. We live in a beautiful place. I love teaching, and I think I'm making a difference in the world, even if it's a small one. Technology and some commitment to scheduling allow me to stay connected with most of the people I really care about. It's a pretty good life, just not exactly the one I expected.
Anyway, in pursuit of no more waiting, we subscribed to the local weekly paper. We are getting involved with city committees and organizations. We planted some flowers in our yard (even though we rent). Because you know what? We live *here*.
We've gotten decent medical, vision, and dental insurance. What's more, we have established relationships with a doctor, a dentist, and an optometrist. We are finally going to buy new glasses! Because it is important that we take care of ourselves *now*, not in 10 years.
We are getting life insurance, making plans to pay off our student loans, and starting to save for retirement. Because as it turns out, *this* is our financial situation, and it is not going to change any time soon.
I have decided to not do any professional type work on Saturdays. This is going to mean I get less done, but I'm tired of working very single day and getting no where for it. Plus, leisure time is important to my mental health, and I don't want to keep saying, "I'll have more leisure time after [insert whatever crisis is occurring]". I need a little bit of rest throughout my whole life, starting *now*.
What other things can I/we do to stop waiting? Have our carpets professionally cleaned (because we keep saying that we don't need to do that since we don't own the house)? Paint our living room? Buy my team's parka? Go to city counsel meetings? Other suggestions?
What do you do to remind yourself that *this* is your life and that you don't have to keep waiting for things to improve?