Waiting for the Whens

As summer approaches I am reminded of the time-honored tradition of keenly anticipating the end of the school year and the beginning of vacation.

Maybe that’s when the habit of waiting for the whens began.

If I close my eyes, I can easily remember what it felt like as a school girl when the weather got better and better and the last day of school got closer and closer. By then, it was warm enough to keep the classroom windows open and I could hear the buzzing of bees and the sound of distant lawnmowers accompanied by the smell of freshly cut grass. Looking out those windows, it was hard to pay attention to the teacher; I was waiting for summer vacation to begin.

Rather than a distant memory, I realize that this particular brand of restlessness is an all too familiar feeling. Even today, I feel this much more often than I’d care to admit. It seems I am still waiting for the whens.

Waiting for the whens is when you interact with life as if everything is going to work out “when”…

* when my bills are paid off

* when I’ve lost 10 pounds

* when I land the big sale

* when the kids are grown

* when, when, when

Does any of the above sound familiar?

Intellectually, I certainly know better and so do you. Any one of us could present a very strong argument for why we shouldn’t delay the enjoyment of life by waiting for the whens. In fact, when I realized I was doing it, I was embarrassed. After all, I teach that you get more of what you focus on. When you are waiting for the whens the things you are asking for are all in the future. How can they be here now when you are focused on their arriving at some future date?

That’s what I have been doing. I’ve been so excited about what is coming that I haven’t acknowledged what is already here—the very things I was keenly anticipating months ago!

Look at the details of your life. Remember when you couldn’t wait for some of what you have now to happen? You said to yourself, “If I just land this job, everything will be great,” or “When I have my own family, life will be perfect.” We are all enjoying circumstances that were just a pipe dream a few years back and yet, once we have what we asked for, we forget that our petitions were answered because we’re so focused on the new list of desires that have not yet appeared.

Waiting for the whens feels like you are delaying happiness until things line up. Note to self: things ARE lined up; it’s time to wake up and celebrate.

The more you celebrate what you already have, the more quickly desires you have that are not yet fulfilled will show up! That’s because you attract more of what you focus on. When you focus on enjoying what you already have, you end up having even more.

Focusing on future desires is like a dog chasing his own tail. It’s within sight but he can never quite catch up to it!

Even as a child waiting for the whens didn’t work out quite as I’d hoped. By July 4th, I was complaining to my mother that I was B-O-R-E-D. Of course, I only made that mistake once a summer because her reply was always the same, “I’ll give you something to do!” and it was always a chore that was even more B-0-R-I-N-G.

The next time you find yourself waiting for the whens take inventory of your wishes that have been fulfilled. You’ll find that living in the present is loads of fun!

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