We all know people who are constantly talking about the good old days. No matter where they are or what they’re doing, life was better before. In fact, many of those people are on the search to recreate the magic. They’re always moving from job to job, hoping that one of them will have the spark they crave. Or for others, it’s relationship to relationship or town to town.
When I lived in Philadelphia, I’d take the train from Chestnut Hill to the City for work. On the way, I’d always see a sign on one of the apartment complexes we passed. It said, “If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home Now.” I thought, “How stupid. No kidding.” Now I get it.
In a world where everything is temporary, we’re all just passing through. However, there’s a problem with the passing through mindset – it’s never home but only a train stop.
For five years I’ve lived in a furnished rental home. My belongings are in a storage facility in Northern Virginia, and our rental could be described as vanilla at best. Our friends here who also live in furnished rentals were shocked last year when we bought a new couch and new kitchen table and chairs.
“Why?” they asked.
“Why spend the money when you have another one in storage?”
“What was wrong with the included furniture?”
Here’s the deal: I was tired of just passing through and was ready to be home now.
I needed to hang curtains, art, buy an area rug, and a colorful table because living in a vanilla world is life sucking after a while. (Sorry to those of you who are thinking vanilla is your favorite flavor. Imagine it all over your walls and furniture, and I’ll bet it’s not as appealing.) Most people here count the months or years until they’re leaving.
“When I get home again,” they say.
“At home, things will be different,” they say.
“You are home,” I say. “For as long as you’re here, you’re home. Act like it. Embrace it.”
Want More Success and Happiness? Here’s the Key:
It’s simple: Stop romanticizing the past and waiting for the future.
You’re here now. If you act like a temp, you’re in for a long wait to be happy; to be home. Even if it’s not your forever home, act like it is. It changes everything.
If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home Now
It’s okay to love the past, but not if it threatens your ability to be happy now. I’ll say it once, twice if you need to hear it twice – the past isn’t coming back. It’s not. Even if you went back, it would never be the same.
What if, instead of looking to what’s next, you allowed yourself to go all in right here, right now? What would change? Not your circumstances. The thing that would change? It’s you.
Success and happiness are both within your reach when you go all in. When you’re invested, you’re home.
To me, home is more than where you sleep at night. At the office, it’s also more than the location of your desk or the name of the company on your business card. Home is where you’re planted. No, that doesn’t mean forever, but it’s the place you’ve chosen to grow. There is limited growth at best when you refuse to grow roots, build connections and get deeply engaged.
When you’re never willing to stop long enough to make anywhere your home, you’re putting off success and happiness. Truly. When you’re in the passing through mindset, only the past or the future has all of the good stuff. Come on, that’s no way to live or lead.
What Will It Take to Stop Passing Through and Create a Home Where You Are?
I’ve worked with people who tell me that they’re buying time in the current position or company. Buying time? More like wasting time waiting. I’m a big believer that the time spent between where you are and where you’re going isn’t simply waiting, it’s a time for creating.
Stop Being Afraid Things Will End Here
Just because you fully show up in your current circumstances doesn’t mean that things will never change. In fact, it’s the showing up and giving 100% NOW that will create your next opportunity and your next.
Paint the Walls and Make Your Mark
Decide you’re IN IT. That you don’t want to live a vanilla existence and want to make your mark. You don’t have to wait to do that! Success and happiness depend on you shining right where you are. You know what’s the best feeling in the world? When you make a positive impact. A big one. You can’t do that without being invested.
Make the Choice
There are always costs and benefits from doubling down on your commitment. However, straddling the past, present and future is more like an uncomfortable game of Twister. Choose. Make the conscious choice that this is where you want to be – and are meant to be for as long as you’re there.
The quickest way to be eluded by success and happiness is to chase it. It’s there for you now, I promise. Remember, “If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home.” It’s up to you to unlock the door and walk through it.
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