Sometimes I reminisce about the past. Not necessarily about regrets. Not even wishing I could go back.
Despite of what my inner critic might say, I am more accomplished than I was then. I have had wonderful experiences, and I feel that I have grown as a person.
So why focus on the past?
I think, because, in the past we didn't know any better. And we were better off for it.
When I was 18 I would be thrilled to be cast in the chorus of a play. Every short film had my full focus. Every good moment in acting class made me happy.
Now, everything is evaluated. Was that thing I wrote on brand? How come this web content is working but this isn't.
As I have become more "professional", everything has become an item to check off my to do list. And even the act of checking it off gives no satisfaction. I could do 23 items on a 25 item list and feel little to no sense of accomplishment. I suspect that would be true even if all 25 were done.
The biggest emotion that I get after accomplishment is relief.
Does this sound familiar?
I am beginning to realize that this is not the greatest plan. Even if it works and I somehow check every item off of my bucket list, I don't know that my current approach would make me happy. And even if it did, spending a score of years miserable so that I can feel accomplished at the end of my life seems like a terrible trade off.
So, what to do? Stop having goals? Live completely hedonistically? No.
I think that the answer lies in focusing on what you are doing and enjoying the fuck out of it. Naïve as 18 year old me was; he didn't think that the play he got cast in would skyrocket him to fame and fortune. He just loved doing it.
I love writing. I love making music. I love making movies. I love so many things that I get to do. But my focus has gotten off. Everything has to have a purpose, be a stepping stone, whatever, and it's sucked the joy out of it.
So I am going to be focusing on JOY before anything else right now. First thing in the morning, I'm going to make sure that I do something that gives me joy, and I'm going to be sure that I am present enough to enjoy it.
This is different than gratitude. I can be grateful for my health, grateful for having a place to live, but if I don't enjoy my body or enjoy my surroundings it doesn't have the same effect.
Gratitude is being happy that you have a nice apartment, Joy is decorating it to make it yours.
I am going to go to the grocery store. And I'm going to enjoy the fuck out of it.