Have you ever wanted something so bad that you would have done almost anything to obtain it? On some level, we all know this feeling whether it's an accomplishment, state of being or material possession.
We humans know craving and desire well. Wanting can be a helpful tool to guide growth and action, but it must be managed through a few considerations of human nature.
The other day I took a walk with a friend and her new puppy. It had been almost a year since we'd taken that same walk together and I found myself reminiscing aloud:
"Remember last year when we took this same walk and you wanted a puppy 'so bad it hurt?' You knew exactly what you wanted, spent almost a year researching and searching and waiting for him to be born and then old enough to come home and... now he's here. We're taking your dream for a walk. Isn't that amazing?"
She paused for a minute and looked down at her adorable puppy. "Oh yeah. I almost forgot about that," she shrugs and chuckles. "Funny."
For a moment I was in awe that she was not more in awe because I remember her yearning so vividly. In that moment it was so distant to her and I could sense there was something else more pressing happening in her mind than awing over her new puppy.
The whole cycle felt so familiar. So human.
How many of us are taking our dreams for a walk every day without a second thought of awe or appreciation for how hard we worked to make that dream a reality?
I did the same thing with grad school. It was a monumental dream of mine and I worked for years to make it happen. (I'll spare you the tangent of listing all that went into putting myself through grad school while working full time.) A couple of weeks after graduating, when the glow of my accomplishment had worn off, my mind was already focused on the next and to an extent this is a helpful tendency to ensure growth, but only if we keep it in check.
As humans, our reference point for our desires and what to focus on is always changing. It's in our nature. For better or worse, we are constantly dreaming of the next even on the heels of having manifested our biggest dreams.
That life you dreamed of ten years ago? You're probably living it-- or at least a part of it.
Are you pausing regularly to savor it? Probably not. Why? I'm guessing it's closely related to our negativity bias. Human brains are hard wired to find and solve problems. We tend to focus on the bad things happening around us more than the good.
Our tendency to focus on the bad-- or in this case what we don't have-- wins out every time without intentional effort to notice and appreciate what we do have or what we have created.
So, wherever you are today in your journey, give yourself the honor of pausing to take stock of all that you have and appreciate it. Making a list of all that you have achieved and all that you are as a result of those accomplishments is a powerful exercise.
Sometimes, slowing down to honor where we are is the fastest way to getting where we want to go next.... or at least to inspiring creative ways to get there.
Go spend spend 20 minutes with your journal or 15 minutes in meditation or 30 minutes walking and you might be amazed when you look up and see where you are.
Go take your dream for a walk and use the pause as awe fuel for your next big dream.