We all say this, and fantasize how things would be once we got our dream job, house, mate, car, etc. But we also know the truth of the matter; that once we get to that next place in life when we have ______, things are still pretty much the same.
Unfortunately, and despite this intellectual understanding, "I wish things were different" recently has seemed to have become my personal mantra. As a grad student, I watch others my age buy houses and cars, go on vacations and afford neat gadgets, making me long for the day when I can have a 'real' job, with a 'real' salary and 'real' work hours. I wish that my dear boyfriend could stay near me as he pursues his post-doc, and long for the safety and security married and family life seems to bring. As I said, I know that all this thinking is just fantasy, but it is so easy to get caught up. It was only in a conversation with my roomate that I seem to have awakened a little.
We were talking about being grad students, basically what I mentioned above, without the family stuff. But we also realized that we don't live a bad life, and that we have a lot of things to be grateful for. We don't have to worry about the responsibility that comes with having a house, mortgages, etc. and don't have to take care of anyone but ourselves. What's more, we both decided that you can't go on living life just looking forward to the next 'stage'. Doing that is bound to set yourself up for regret, because before you know it, this life will be over, and you'll realize that you never enjoyed the present moment, and just the joy of being alive.
We may be unhappy with our overall circumstances, but the life we are leading is still a life, and that is something of utmost value.
"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." Albert Einstein