The "When I have" Habit
Last fall, as I was wandering home one day from my local LCBO (that just so happens to be the huge & beautiful Summerhill location), I got to thinking about gratitude and presence.
As I walked up the long sloping hill of Yonge street, between Alcorn Avenue and Balmoral, I reflected on what an amazing stroll it was, through such a pleasant and welcoming neighbourhood. Not only is the best wine-stop only an eight minute walk from my then new apartment, but there is also an abundance of fancy foodie shops, grand restaurants, superb home decor stores, and plenty of coffee houses nearby to cozy up in for tea. My hot yoga studio is around the corner, there are two grocery stores within a stone's throw, I can see the subway station from my balcony, and I can walk to my workplace in under 25 minutes!
For the first time in all my years living in Toronto, I felt one hundred and fifty percent completely and utterly happy about where I resided. Not only did I declare my adoration for the 'hood, but I really loved my new flat and all that I have furnished and designed within it. Sure, at that point, there was still a lot I could have done to make it "homier", but it was perfect as it was, and I loved it right then. I have moved a total of 13 times in my 11 years in Toronto. Consistently, I would move and then soon begin to long for something a wee bit better, bigger, cooler....I figured that "only when I have" a better flat, my life will be perfect. I had developed a bad case of the habit "when I have's".
I love it now
That day I also consciously noted that I was really into my job. Like, really. I have been plugging away at my career in TV for years, and almost from day one I was already striving to do the next thing. Once I got comfy in one role, I became unhappy, needed change, got miserable, and looked for new work. Once I nailed that perfect gig somewhere else, the cycle would begin again...get good, get sad, get resentful, leave. Eventually I worked my way to the "top" as far as I was concerned, as a director in live TV news at the ripe old age of 27. Pretty great, right? Well it didn't take long for my high about that position to wear off either, and I quit that too.
It took my "phoenix years" rolling around in 2010 to finally snap me out of it. After dabbling in various fields outside of TV that year, and taking on only freelance and contract work for most of the year following, I finally landed the role that saved me. In September of 2011 I started a full time job that serves me very well. I now go into work with a huge smile on my face every day. Every. Single. Day. It's pretty great. I love it just fine, right now, because I have it right now. And I don't need anything but this, at this moment.
Hurry up and get there thoughts
Now, this is not to say that there have not been a few instances when I have felt a tad restless in my role as it relates to my other business, MAP Wellness. I have had to reign in my mind-spin more than a few times when I have (in the words of my gal Gabby Bernstein “future-tripped” about the day that I can leave TV fully and focus all of my time and energy on my new venture. I have had a few hurry-up-and-get-there thoughts creep in on me to be sure. But I have been able to acknowledge them, and on occasion be talked down by a level-headed colleague.
I have lived for my "when I have's" for thirty years. I have been in a perpetual state of anxiety about the future. When I get those jeans, nab that boyfriend, lose those ten pounds, learn that dance move...I will be happy...
My life is perfect
I have always had this sinking feeling that I was waiting for something. Something to happen, something to change, something to make my life perfect. But my life IS perfect. I have a life after all, and every single second is beautiful and precious and needs to be acknowledged and given great attention.
Why am I choosing to write about this today if I have already sorted all this out? Because I haven’t. As much as I try to practice detachment, as much as I sit in mindful in-the-moment meditation, and as much as I spew positive mantra after positive mantra, it can still be an ongoing battle within to truly be in the now, happily. And I also bring this to attention because it seems to be that more and more people I know appear to be themselves getting lost in the future. Even some of the people that I once turned to for guidance in navigating this emotional ego-driven universe inside my head seem to have fallen into this trap.
So this is my reminder, to me and to you, to give up the “when I have’s” and live with gratitude for what you have now, who you are in the present, and why everything you know is just fine for you here. Happiness is always available within you, it is merely a matter of perception.
PS- Just to make your life a little bit sweeter- enter our Giveaway to win the most amazing chocolate!!!!!
Meg Pearson is a passionate cook, Alissa Cohen certified Living on Live Food Instructor, and Culinary Nutrition Expert trained with Meghan Telpner’s Cooking Academy. She is also a Reiki Practitioner and Living Well Consultant, with a strong focus on educating others on the merits of following a plant-heavy diet and focusing on whole life balance, and is also a student of the American College of Sports Medicine’s Disordered Eating in Active and Sedentary Individuals Course. Meg spent many years fighting her own food battles, suffering with bulimia from her early teens, and has found comfort and strength in adopting a whole foods diet and sharing her affection for food creativity with others. It is her hope that her personal experience may be a useful instrument in helping others heal in their own personal journey and realize their optimal sources of nourishment. Meg feeds both body and mind while guiding her clients to greatness with her company MAP Wellness. Twitter: