I just finished reading Living Well, Spending Less (a great read, I highly recommend it) and I started writing a book review to share with you. Then I remembered how I can't write book reviews to save my life and I stopped. But I did want to share one of my favorite ideas in the book, which is to "bloom where you are." I love this. Notice it says where you are, not bloom in a few years or bloom when you get where you want to be.
I'm willing to bet we've all heard the concept, we get the concept, and in theory, we believe the concept. But do we really live it??
Bloom Where You Are
Try asking yourself: What can I do to cherish where I am now? What is depriving me of joy?
When I honestly seek the answers to these questions, I find out several things about myself. I find that most of the things that deprive me of joy do so because I allow them to do so.
For example, of course the death of a loved one is going to make me unhappy, but most of the things that steal my joy aren't deaths. They are things like jealousy, discontent, selfishness, unkindness, and all other host of icky things. I don't have control over who dies (thank God!), but I do have control over whether I choose to allow these other feelings into my life.
I also find that there is a lot that I can do to cherish where I am in this moment. In this moment, I am not in my forever home, I'm in a small, old apartment. In this moment, I am not making money and I still haven't graduated from school. In this moment, I don't have time to do all the things I want to do. In this moment, I live too far from my family. In this moment, I never get to go on exotic vacations.
BUT. In this moment, I have a home that I truly do LOVE. In this moment, I have the opportunity to go to school so that I can do something that I really, really like. In this moment, I have a wonderful family. In this moment, I have a hope given by a God who is so loving it's sometimes hard to fathom.
Sometimes I find myself longing for the day when I can be in a house, my own house, where I don't have to hold back because I know I will be moving on soon. Riding my bike down a few streets in Sacramento by my apartment reminded me of all the people who don't have what I have. They don't have exotic vacations, and they may never. They may never know what is like to be completely full and warm, to make money doing something you love, and to have someone you love share a life with you.
However, it's not comparing how much I have to what others have that makes me content. It's learning to live in this life, embracing the goodness of it. Whether I have food or not, whether I have home or not, whether I have love or not. I think it's okay to dream about the future, as long as the dreams aren't just full of all the "stuff" we want that's going to make us happy. And we need to be careful that those dreams don't cause us to be discontent with where we are at the moment. Because once we get to the "end" of that particular dream, we'll realize that it didn't make us any happier.
So, bloom where you are. Take stock of what you have and be thankful. Take root and grow! (...and, have we had enough plant analogies?)