What to do if you’re always thinking “I’ll be happy when…”

A little over a year ago I remember feeling like all I needed to do was to move to our new house and all the overwhelm I was feeling would disappear.

Then we moved.

And we went into lockdown.

And then we came out of lockdown and tried to make a normal life here. New jobs. New schools. New sport teams.

We bought some land.

And are still waiting for them to build us a house.

And now I find myself feeling the same overwhelm and over-it-ness about this place that I did on the coast when I was waiting to move here. I find myself thinking. Once we’re in the new house everything will be better. Once we move I’ll finally have the space to film again and my motivation will come back. Once we move I’ll finally feel more settled. Once we move we can actually make connections cause we’ll have a place to invite people too.

But will I?

Or will I just find yet another part of my life that isn’t quite right to stress about. Will this discontent just follow me wherever I go. And does the newness of each situation just distract me for a little bit. Never really solving it properly.

I suspect it’s a little bit of both.

Our house is not ideal for a whole bunch of first world reasons.

We don’t have a big enough backyard for three boys.

I don’t have the space to work. To film or to have an office. Lighting isn’t ideal. Neighbours are noise and filming time is always frustrating.

Its not ours and we are so used to being home owners, not renters. Again. First world problems, but all things that help us feel at home.

Covid has made the whole building thing tricky. We have this beautiful piece of land, and the slab is done. And yet we’re waiting waiting waiting for them to have the materials to actually finish it.

All this aside. I think. no I know that even if the house was done, I would still be feeling this. I would be thinking “if only we had finished the landscaping, then this place would be better” or “once we finish … insert any of the endless projects we will set ourselves…. I’ll be able to relax and feel settled”

Waiting with a feeling of discontent is a funny old thing hey. You know it’s not permanent and yet it still feels like suffering being in it.

I’m doing my best not to dwell. To try and see the good for what it is. Trying to focus on the excitement of building and planning without dwelling on the ‘what I wish I already had now’.

And I think this applies to a lot of situations in life.

Not just in moving and trying to settle into a new place. This feeling of not wanting to be here and wishing you could speed forward to the bits you believe will be better.

I’ve felt it before when we were trying to have Luca and we had 3 losses in 12 months. Feeling like I desperately wanted to speed up time and just get there, and yet I also didn’t really want to miss being “in the middle of it” either, or I tried my hardest not to anyway. After all that would have meant missing precious time with my other boys.

I remember feeling this discontent in high school too, desperately wishing to be an adult already and all the benefits I believed would come with that. (Oh baby Bettina, how I wish I could go back and tell you being an adult is not all it’s cracked up to be.)

I’ve felt this way about getting new jobs. Dreaming about how much better the day to day would be if I could just stop doing THIS. And at first the new job is shiny and new and you enjoy everything. Until inevitably time passes and then you don’t anymore. The day to day becomes your normal and you start dreaming of something new.

The discontent just follows wherever you go.

Which is just to say the discontent is just human. It’s probably hard-wired into us as some sort of survival technique to help us keep moving, keep developing, keep looking for the next thing to keep us one step ahead of whatever danger is out there.

The trick is finding a way to breathe and relax and settle despite the feelings of discontent. Finding a way to accept all the imperfections of right now and trust that this is what it’s meant to be. After all the suffering is mostly just thinking it was meant to be some other way.

It wasn’t. It just doesn’t make sense to you yet.

The story only ever makes sense in reverse. With hindsight you get to see why it didn’t unfold how you imagined it would. The lessons only make sense when you can see the whole picture, not just the messy middle.

So if you’re in the messy middle of something right now. which is basically everyone, because we’re always going through something. Take a breath. Feel the earth. Be in THIS moment. Keep dreaming because its good to lean into the excitement of the future you imagine.

But don’t lose yourself thinking that you should be there instead. Because you’re not meant to be there yet, you are exactly where you are meant to be. Right here. Right now.

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