• Stacia

Joy in the Journey: Contentment

"Comparison is the thief of joy." I've heard it over and over and over again. I've tried to remind myself of it. But I've realized, that sometimes what I'm comparing to isn't someone else. It isn't someone else's journey, but rather, comparing to the idea of what I think my life should be or what I think it'll be like in 3, 6, 12, 18, or 24 months.

My last semester of grad school, I was just ready to move on. I had a job, I almost had my degree, I just wanted to sell my house and get out of Northern Indiana. I wanted to move forward and "get back to" my life. Then, we left. Now that we're here in our townhouse, I'm ready to get my loans paid off. I'm ready to get a down payment set up. I'm ready to be in our own house. With a yard and a fence. And a second dog. And maybe at some point a kid.

Here's the thing, your twenties are a weird time. You have friends who are single and killing it at their careers. You have friends who have multiple kids. You have friends who go from dating to married in a few years span. It's so hard to not feel like you're lost or like you're not checking some arbitrary boxes fast enough (or checking them too fast?). I 100% am not going to deny that.

So, sweet reader, this is your reminder that you're doing just fine. This is your reminder that we are all made individually with different dreams and goals and aspirations and we are all reaching different milestones at different points. This is your reminder that just because you didn't find *the one* at age 21 does not make you any less worthy of love. This is your reminder that just because you didn't go back to school before you turned 30 doesn't mean you can't ever get your Master's degree. This is your reminder that we all start out at a different point, we all have different curve balls thrown at us, and we all have a different journey.

I'm writing this as much for myself as I am for you.

I'm writing this to remind you that you can have goals and hopes and dreams for the future, but still enjoy the present. You can be thankful for your journey and what it has taught you. You can be excited for what's to come, but you don't have to be so obsessed with the next thing that you forget to enjoy this moment.

So here I am, in a rented townhouse. I look forward to the day that I can own a house and not be having to prepare to sell it soon. I'm excited for the day I can paint a wall purple just because I want to. But you know what else I love? I love living across the street from my best friends. I love spur of the moment "it's been a long day, let's take the dogs for a walk" 5pm strolls. I love craft nights with the girls. I love that when our water pipes froze I could call a maintenance crew instead of sending my husband out to fix it (because seriously, my maintenance crew is bomb). I love that my husband and I only need about an hour and a half on a Saturday and our place is bright and clean and fresh.

I have a mountain of student loans that I got while in the very program I was so ready to be done with. Even though our aggressive payoff timeline is shorter than our original one of two years, I'm still ready for it to be gone. Not because I want to celebrate it being gone and what that represents and the hard work that went into getting and paying for the degrees, but I want to check the box and move on to the next thing. But before that happens, I have friends who will get married. I have others who will celebrate birthday milestones, some who will take big steps in their careers, and still others who will have babies.

And all of those things are exciting.

I don't want to be so obsessed with checking off things of my own list that I'm not able to be present enough to celebrate the milestones that others are reaching or just enjoy the day to day moments that I have in the now.

So, sweet reader, here's my challenge to you:

Don't compare yourself to others and don't compare yourself to where you think you need to be. And finally, don't rely on checking the next box to make you happy - it won't.



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