Now What?: A Word on “Living in the Now.”

One of the hardest parts about taking an unconventional career path—for me, at least—is ignoring that constant, nagging feeling that I should be doing something else: something more important-sounding, more secure, more lucrative. This is something I also struggled with the first time I got laid off, but this time, I’m a lot more interested in shifting out of that mindset, rather than quieting those feelings by getting a “real job.”

It’s not like this particular brand of insecurity is anything new. We worry about what we should be doing even during our scheduled relaxation time. My yoga teachers are always telling me to be in the now, let go of everything outside my mat, just for this one hour. And I can’t seem to forget Carrie Bradshaw’s famous musings, “Why are we ‘should-ing’ all over ourselves?” But maybe the answer to this problem is actually really simple.

I recently read The Geography of Bliss, this amazing book by Eric Weiner, which details his travels around the world as he researches various cultural viewpoints on happiness. One of the subjects he interviews says, “Maybe happiness is this: not feeling like you should be elsewhere, doing something else, being someone else.” I loved that. Our society places so much emphasis on what we have and do, rather than valuing the void in things. It’s very Taoist, this idea of seeing usefulness in what is not there. (You can read a whole passage on that concept here.)

So, I think that’s my goal for this week: letting go of what I think I should be doing so I can enjoy what I am doing. Reveling in the void. We’ll see how it goes.


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