Today one of my 7th grade girls was having a mini meltdown. Phase One was because I thought it was wiser to do her homework with me instead of putting it off so we could play a game, especially since she has track practice and a concert tonight. I managed to sort of solve that and she worked quietly with my help for a while. Then while she was working on Spanish homework, we got to phase Two. She realized she would be missing food day in her Spanish class and it was the WORST THING THAT COULD EVER HAPPEN TO ANYONE IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. I mean, I’d be upset too if I was missing it for a dentist appointment or a funeral or because I was sick or something. But this student will be missing food day because she will be on a trip to Boston for Whale Watch Club. I said to her, “You need to stop thinking about the things you’re missing out on and focus on the awesome things you get to do instead.”
Man. How many times do I get so hung up on what I’m MISSING that I neglect to enjoy where I’m at? I mean, yes. I’m missing out on a lot of things my peers are doing right now. Marriage, amazing careers, families, European vacations, buying houses, etc. It would be awesome to be able to afford some of those things or to experience others. And I could focus on the things I’m missing. In fact, sometimes I do. I get stuck in a cycle of discouragement and disappointment in myself for not being “successful.” But I am attempting to learn to not only be CONTENT in where I am but to love it. I can’t take expensive vacations. But I CAN take long weekends occasionally to visit friends and family and do fun and inexpensive things. I’m not married, but I can invest in deep, meaningful relationships with my friends. I don’t have a family, but I can still freeze my face off at my friends’ son’s baseball game. My career might not be amazing but I’m investing in the kids I work with at school and my coworkers at JCP. I get to buy 2 chocolate chip cookies on Tuesdays and share them with my friend while we take a break. I get to say yes to so many cool things that I couldn’t say yes to if I had the life I think I’m missing out on.
Someday, I’ll probably enjoy those things I’m missing out on, just like someday, this student will get to try Spanish food during a class party. But today, I need to focus on the fun I get to have rather than what I don’t.