"This house is so full of people it makes me sick. When I grow up and get married, I'm living alone!" Along with a shared love of cheese pizza, Kevin McAllister and I shared a fairly similar worldview. I related to this quote all through my high school years; I couldn't wait to leave for college and get away from family. Freedom was my ultimate goal.
It wasn't until campus was seven hours from home that I found myself more homesick than summer camp of '98. The desire I placed so highly on a pedestal was slowly showing its negative side -- loneliness.
Focusing on what 'Could Be'
How many times do we look to our future and place our happiness on what could be?
"If ____ happens, then I will be happy."
Just like Home Alone, we find ourselves "thirsty for more" (sorry, I had to). We obsess over a shift in our lives and how that shift might finally make us happy. Instead, we need to learn to be happy and satisfied with our circumstances in every present moment.
What comes to mind when you think about Christmas? My memories are staged at my grandparents' house at the kids' table. It's upsetting that it usually takes a death in the family or a decrease in gatherings to finally realize how much we long for those times. I would give anything to be in their living room with my cousin while football played in the background. How ironic that -- fifteen years later -- football is no longer background noise, but the one thing that secludes me.
Just like military families, those who work in the healthcare field, or those who simply live far away from home, I am sad to be apart from my loved ones during the holidays. Instead of rejoicing, I find myself ungrateful for my present circumstances on the one day dedicated to appreciating life.
I actually catch myself fantasizing of a life post-football.
A life when I won't be 2,500 miles from my family, when my driver's license will finally match my residence and when I'll know how to answer the seemingly-innocent question, "Where are you from?"
Don't get me wrong -- I will truly miss these years. I've been to a number of places and met so many amazing people. What I'm working on is learning to appreciate the moment. I have to stop thinking about an "ideal" situation. Similar to gleaning a wheat field, I will make an effort to take all the 'scraps' the world views as trivial, gather and embrace them.
I'm working to turn my typical areas of complaint into areas to rejoice. Instead of resenting house cleaning, I'm rejoicing that I have a house to clean. I may struggle to sleep, but I'm struggling in a warm bed.
Living in the present is difficult. But imagine how much happier we will be if we appreciate the now instead of hoping for a change in our circumstances to produce satisfaction.
Think of Home Alone. After just one day of eating all the ice cream he could eat and watching more than enough Angels with Filthy Souls, Kevin was ready for everything to go back to how it used to be.