Be happy now

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You're always dreaming big. You think of the next awesomesauce apartment you're going to be in, or when you'll trade in your less-than-shiny car for a brand new one that makes you feel like a badass. I get it. We're doing the same thing right now. In fact, I wrote this post in an effort to forget about getting my dream car. Then I went and got my dream car, because they made me a deal I couldn't refuse. And now we're looking for a house. House hunting is in the works still, but I'm trying to keep my excitement at bay and think with a level head.


Looking For Gold

There's this song by The Kin, with a line in it that goes:

You were looking for gold, while sitting on diamonds.


That line has meant a lot of different things to me over the years (holy shit dude, this song came out almost exactly 10 years ago), but as Chris and I start to look for new housing, I can't help but think that our ideals of having a swanky apartment in Center City Philadelphia or a house in the suburbs are too much too soon. Also, with my car lease ending soon, I dream of getting an SUV, but why? Do I really need a bigger, better car?

Recently my friend JT wrote a public letter to his little sister with great financial advice. It got me thinking: just because I couldafford a significantly more expensive housing or car situation, shouldI do it?

But, that's enough about me. What about you? Where are you now in life, and would your goals actually do anything for you?

Let's consider for a moment that all that you have, right now, is good enough.

Your House and Car

Provided you're living a modest life and aren't stretching paycheck to paycheck (or are in serious debt), maybe the situation you're in right nowis fine.

Maybe you're in a similar boat as I am: you're renting a decent apartment, but you dream of buying a house. Or, you think often about how your life would be better if you had an extra bedroom, or so much extra square feet, etc.

Maybe you own a car right now, but whenever you see a new model on the road you get pangs of jealousy.

You were looking for gold, while sitting on diamonds.

Stop to think for a moment. Again—provided you're living within your means—the house or car you have right now might just be ok.

You've been living "without" for so long. Bigger dreams and goals are good to have, but maybe they should only be pursued when it actually fits your budget.

A new house or a more expensive car seems great. But emptying your savings in order to put a down payment on something new and shiny may come back to haunt you when you actually need to dip into emergency funds.

Your somewhat shitty situation right now could leverage you to make a more sound move in the future, especially if you hunker down on your budget.

Your Career

You were looking for gold, while sitting on diamonds.

Where you are right now might be better than your dreams.

Sure, it's easy to think about a career where you'd be making tens of thousands of dollars extra a year. You'd have a cooler title. You'd be able to drive that sportscar, or buy that mini mansion in that nice neighborhood.

Maybe in your current job, you are bored from time to time, or you feel like you could do much better. The possible scenarios in a semi-unhappy occupation are endless.

But what would a new career really mean in reality?

Do you have to go back to school in order to advance? What does that school debt look like, and do the pros outweigh the cons?

If you had your dream career with a shiny Director title, does that mean you'd suddenly be spending long hours in the office with less time with your family and friends in your McMansion? Does it mean you'd go on vacation only to be glued to your iPhone answering emails and taking calls?

Your Relationship Status

So you're devastatingly single. You want to be married yesterday.

OR you're in a relationship but you have a wandering eye, especially when your significant other does that thing you can't stand—AGAIN!

I have a lot to say about dating and relationships (ahem… I wrote a book about it). So I won't go too much into it here.

But wait a second. Maybe you're single and you're frustrated because your biological clock is ticking. Or because you just don't want to be alone anymore.

Or maybe you're just unhappy with whatever your current situation is and you think, "hey, a new relationship would totally fix everything for me."

Here's a recipe for disaster: depending on external factors to make you happy. Especially if that external factor is another human being.

I'm not saying to stay single forever or to remain in an unhealthy relationship. Just don't be in a rush to change your situation, especially if it could end up making things worse for you.

That sounded really cynical. But relationships are complicated and there are so many dynamics to them, whether those dynamics are amazing, great, good, meh, bad, or horrible.

Dream Big but Be Real and Slow Down

Dream big for your perfect house, car, career, or love life. Goals are important. But slow down.

Appreciate what you have nowand recognize that dreams realized may bring new scenarios you can't predict.


Cover photo by Imani Clovis