Are we nearly there yet?

As kids most of our holidays involved a lot of driving. We drove to Ireland or France or Italy and the journeys seemed to take FOREVER.

Dad would try to drown out the sound of beeping gameboys and constant arguments between me and my sisters (her hair is in my space! Mum tell her to move up! She is a PIG! ) with very loud Pavarotti cassettes, which, of course, we hated. We wanted to listen to Prince.

Every ten minutes one of us would shout over the bellowing opera to ask: ‘Are we nearly there yet?’

Are we nearly there yet? 

Eckhart Tolle reckons we spend most of our lives asking ‘Are we nearly there yet?’. He talks about this constant rushing past the present moment to get to the next moment, a moment we feel will be better.

‘Most people treat the present moment as if it were an obstacle that they need to overcome. Since the present moment is life itself, it is an insane way to live,’ he writes.

He says we spend our lives waiting. He talks about ‘small-scale’ waiting  – waiting in line at the post office or waiting to meet a friend – and ‘large-scale waiting’ which is waiting for the next holiday, the next job, more money, a good relationship etc… the next thing that will make us happy.

‘It is not uncommon for people to spend their whole life waiting to start living,‘ he writes.

Tolle says there’s nothing wrong with having goals, with wanting to improve your situation or planning a holiday –  the mistake is to prioritise the future over today; where you’re going to where you are right now. We can find no peace if that’s how we’re living our lives.

I have done a lot of that in my life. I tell myself, ‘I’ll be happy when… I lose half a stone, when I earn more money, when I do better at work, when I find love etc…’

The thing is you never get ‘there’ – because when you do get ‘there’ you’re too busy thinking about the next thing to feel peace. Or you’re too busy finding fault in what you have.picture

I have lost count of the number of friends who hated being single only to fall in love, get married and mourn the loss of their freedom. Friends who want the bigger house only to moan about the upkeep when they get it.

When I was stressed out of my brain in an office job I used to dream of having a lovely desk and a life as a freelance writer. I used to rip out pictures of my fantasy desks and imagine myself thinking deep, wonderful thoughts, looking out the window.

It was only last week that I saw, for the first time, that actually I have been sitting at that fantasy desk for a whole year, only I hadn’t realised it.

I am already there.

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