Stop moving the carrot

Growing up, I thought happiness was on the other side of a college diploma. 

In May of 1999, I walked down State Street in Erie, Pennsylvania in my cap and gown - college diploma in hand, wondering what I was going to do next. 

I'd like to say that I was happy in that moment, but I wasn't. Relieved, maybe, at reaching an end to the constant pressure that can be college. But I wasn't happy. I was wondering what would come next. 

In 2010, I set a personal goal of deadlifting 200 pounds. 

In 2011 I deadlifted 205. Then 225. I capped out at 280lbs. 

With each successful pull, I wanted more. Currently, my goal is 300 pounds. 

But when will I be happy? 

Most of us are taught in life that if work hard, we will be successful. That with the right job, the right partner, the right house, the right money, we will be happy. 

How many times per day do you find yourself saying "if I could just (lose five pounds, make 5k more, open a banana farm*) then I'd be happy?"

But what does the if/when equation do for us right now, in this current moment? 

Are you happy right now? 

A few weeks ago, Sheila and I were in San Diego and I indulged in a big ol' iced mocha from Starbucks with extra whipped cream. 

"Do you know what this is?" I asked Sheila, who was just trying to read her book.

"This," I said, pointing to my drink, "is happiness in a cup."

 Sometimes I get carried away with Canva...for better or worse. But I think you get the gist.

Sometimes I get carried away with Canva...for better or worse. But I think you get the gist.

She nodded and looked back to her book while I spent a few seconds drinking straight whipped cream through a straw. 

Beyond the occasional Starbucks drink with whipped cream though, I mostly kick my carrots on down the road, just like the rest of us. 

I'm happy when I snuggle with Rooney, or have dinner with Sheila, or lay on the floor with my niece and nephew and watch a movie. I'm happy when I Facetime my folks on Sunday mornings sometimes, though often in many of those moments I'm still thinking of all of the things I'd like to get done. 

I have continually pushed happiness forward. 

I’ll be happy when…

There is a carrot in front of us and then we get to it and chuck it further down the sidewalk. 

Here’s the thing - I work in a small business now and I understand one concept very clearly - if you’re not growing you’re dying. 

But I’ve also watched one too many clients push happiness further down the road. With weight loss, with fat loss, with miles run, with workouts put in. 

Stop it. 

I know the drill. We want to put happiness off until we *****

No.

You need to find happiness in the now. You need to find happiness and acceptance in where you are and who you are right now, in this very moment. Let yourself have the carrot. Sure you can create a bigger carrot to chuck on down the road for your next goal. But take a minute now and soak in who you are and what you’ve done now, today, in this moment. 

Celebrate you now. 

Don’t wait. 

You deserve to celebrate who you are right now, gosh darn it. 

So go do it. 

I'll wait.

Let me know how you celebrated. I'll be waiting to hear from you.