My older brother and I are 20 months apart. This meant that after he went away to college, I was left at home, a junior in high school, pining away for those future days of independence and partying. Whether he had a deeper philosophical view on life or whether he was tired of hearing me whine to him about high school, my brother, in all of his college-freshman wisdom, gave me a little piece of advice that has stuck with me to this day. He told me to just enjoy where I was in life. If I always thought my happiness was contingent upon getting to the next step, I would never be happy.
Though I’m long out of high school (thank God!) and what seems like a lifetime out of college, I have taken this piece of advice (or anti-whine serum) with me into the Marine Corps experience.
In order to lessen the pain of not settling into our new city quick enough, my knee-jerk reaction was to look ahead to the world of online real estate…at our next duty station…in 6 months…or maybe 4 months…or 10 months…or a year. Instead of just trying to fully embrace our new city as “home,” my response was to look at our bigger and better options that await us at our next stop. Keep in mind that we just moved to Corpus Christi 3 weeks ago. Surely I can’t be happy here, but I will be happy wherever we go next. (And don’t call me Shirley!) My research was completely pointless, but sometimes denial can be so much easier than facing the reality of living in enlisted housing.
I am now determined to be happy and content where I am and will cherish every minute of our time wherever we are, including here. I will cherish waking Hubby up in the middle of the night by a blood-curdling scream because I've seen another monster bug. I will cherish the terrible smell that comes only from our cul-de-sac. I will cherish the hole in our backyard that has been covered with 2x4’s and sandbags to keep our doggie from making her own play date with the neighbor’s dog.
Only 4 months ago, I was itching to get out of Quantico, VA. I still say it was mostly to get away from the cold and head to the beach! But because I only had my eyes focused on the potential greatness of Florida, I missed a lot in Virginia before we left. If I could do it over again, I would make sure to cherish the last time I had to scrape an inch-thick layer of ice off of my windshield. I would cherish the arguments I had with our apartment’s leasing agents over their policies. I would cherish the evil looks from the neighbors and take it as their way of saying “Good morning!”
But in all seriousness, if you are always living for the potential happiness of the future you will miss what is happening right now! Your life will never be the same as it is this very minute. So embrace that time. Find joy in where God has placed you right now.
“Be joyful always.” -1 Thessalonians 5:16