“Don’t cry over the past, it’s gone. Don’t stress about the future, it hasn’t arrived. Live in the present and make it beautiful.”
After Samantha graduated from a prestigious university, she was confident that she was going to be successful in her future endeavors. Nothing stood in the way of her future. Yet, despite hundreds of job applications and hours devoted to finding work after college, she couldn’t seem to find a job that would actually pay the bills. After four months of working 70 or more hours a week at four different jobs, she still wasn’t making enough money and she fell behind on her rent. Six months after graduation, she was evicted.
She moved to a different (less expensive) state with a friend and shortly found herself doing the same thing she was doing before college for just about the same pay. Except now she had a student loan bill looming over her head. She quickly spiraled into depression and started making bad decisions, particularly where men were concerned. About a year after moving, she ended up pregnant. The father was a very abusive man that she never intended to get serious with. When he found out she was pregnant, his abusive behavior increased, and she quickly realized she needed to get away.
She moved again to a new state with an old friend from high school who was going through a divorce. Deep down, she knew it wasn’t a good idea, but she felt backed into a corner. She didn’t have much of a choice. Her premonition was right, and two months later her friend informed her that things weren’t working out. Two years after graduating from one of the best colleges in the country, Samantha was pregnant, single, unemployed, and facing homelessness.
What do you do when life throws roadblocks your way? When you feel like something bad happens every time you turn around? What do you do when you are faced with a hopeless situation? These were all questions Samantha struggled with. Where had she gone wrong? Most of the students she knew who graduated with her were now enjoying successful careers and starting to create happy and comfortable lives for themselves. She could have blamed any number of factors, and she was tempted to do so a few times. But she knew that wouldn’t solve her problems. She had to focus on the task immediately in front of her; finding a safe home for herself and her unborn child.
Samantha reached out to every resource she could find. Everyone kept suggesting that she give up everything and move into a homeless shelter for a while. But she was determined to not have that happen. Finally, at the very last minute, she had a friend offer to co-sign on an apartment for her. Shortly thereafter, she found a landlord who was willing to rent to her. It was a small apartment, but the landlord told her that she could transfer her lease to a bigger place after her baby was born and she was working again. It was just the chance she needed.
Three years later, Samantha is the proud mother of a beautiful girl, and about to become engaged to a man who is kind, patient, and loving to her and her daughter. She is pursuing her passion while building a career for herself doing what she loves. She may not be as successful on the outside as some of her peers, but she has achieved success where it really matters, and she knows the rest will come when the time is right.
Above all else, Samantha is grateful for what happened to her in the past. If she had found a job right out of college, she would never have had her daughter. If she had never gotten pregnant, she never would have been faced with the prospect of homelessness, and she never would have moved into an apartment that ultimately led to her meeting the love of her life. If she had never had her daughter, she never would have needed to find flexible work from home, and she may have never taken the risk involved with pursuing her passions.
Sometimes, success doesn’t always look like what we think it should look like. Sometimes it doesn’t come as easily as we expect it to either. But you can’t just give up, because your happily ever after could be right around the corner. Just live in today, working to make it as beautiful of a day as possible.
Samantha didn’t look to the past to place blame on the things that had “happened to her,” nor did she allow herself to indulge in fantasies of what life would be like when her crisis was over. She focused on the immediate tasks in front of her to get things done.
It’s easy to fall into a rut and feel like you aren’t successful because of the things that happened to you. However, everyone faces challenges in life that leave them feeling hopeless. While it is okay to allow yourself to feel those feelings for a while (because research has shown that ignoring negative feelings is not good for you), you can’t get stuck there. You have to realize that often the best times in life come after the darkest moments. If you work on living in the present, and making each day as beautiful as you can in spite of your hardships, you may just wake up one day to realize you are happier than you ever imagined you could be.