Learning Not to Wait Until You [Insert Phrase of Choice Here]

February 28, 2010

I spent the first twenty-two years of my life waiting. I was waiting until I was prettier, better dressed, smarter, richer, more successful, happier, but mostly – thinner. I had my entire life on hold waiting, hoping that *next* time I’d be able to keep off the weight, *next* time I’d fit into a size six, that I’d finally be: sexy, worthy, happy, lovable. I was waiting to do the big things like write publicly about my experiences once I’d lost the weight. I was waiting to become thin and love myself enough that I could even conceive of letting someone else love me. I was waiting to: wear a bikini, sing karaoke, dance in a club, wear form-fitting dresses and red lipstick, hit on people I found attractive, and take up space in a room. I was terrified – all of the time, and I never felt good enough to be worthy of my dreams.

Waiting was like holding my breath, watching my life like a movie about an under-developed protagonist, waiting for things to happen to me. I never made the first move. My voice was meek in a crowd.

And then I woke up.

Suddenly I panicked. Was I going to be asleep until the day I died? Was I ever going to live my life the way I secretly dreamed? Was I going to be frozen, scared, immobile, and pathetic forever?

For me this initial wake up came in the way of learning, rapidly, to take charge of my romantic and sex life, and in finding that in could be an agent for my own happiness. That is, if I truly believed I deserved it. Now, I don’t really think that this belief needs to be earnest. I think that through visualization and hope for self love, you can culivate belief in your own worth even from the bottom of a negative self esteem pit of despair.

I also don’t think that what you’re wishing and waiting for makes much of a difference – because the process is the same. It doesn’t matter if you are waiting until you are thinner, or get into your first choice college, or get engaged, or have $10,000 in the bank: if you’re not happy with what you’ve got, you’ll never be happy with what you get. Also, while you are waiting to achieve that ultimate success marker, you are missing out on the fantastic things happening around you while your mind is elsewhere.

One day I was visiting my great aunt and she told me that she’d been on a diet everyday since she was fourteen. She was then seventy-four. SIXTY YEARS she had been on a diet. She had gotten married, had two great children who then gave birth to beautiful grandchildren, had a successful career, and yet, she had deprived her body of the food she was craving for the previous sixty years.

Don’t wait. Don’t hold your breath. Don’t delay your dreams. At they end of the day, we really don’t know how long we have or what twists or turns are going to come our way, but what we can control is today – how we feel, what we do, how we move forward, today.

What dreams have you been putting on the back burner? What would happen if you actively pursued them today?

Happy breathing.