For Those Who Want Life To Speed Up – Are You Dreaming Too Much About Tomorrow?

“First I was dying to finish high school and start college. And then I was dying to finish college and start working. And then I was dying to marry and have children. And then I was dying for my children to grow old enough for school so I could return to work. And then I…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: May 28, 2023

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Are you dying for time to pass? Many people are. The future is important, but being happy in the present is as well. It's all about a healthy balance.

“First I was dying to finish high school and start college. And then I was dying to finish college and start working. And then I was dying to marry and have children. And then I was dying for my children to grow old enough for school so I could return to work. And then I was dying to retire. And now I am dying, and suddenly I realize I forgot to live.”Sustainable Human

I recently saw this quote and it really made me think.

Pretty much everyone, myself included, is guilty of wanting to rush through life instead of trying to live in the present while also preparing for the future.

When I was younger, I wanted to be older so I could have more money, a bigger house, etc. I wanted to rush through high school, college and so on.

I dreamt of the future and spent much of my time dwelling on that.

It’s easy to focus on what you hope your life will be like, but for me, I am living a better life now because I’m no longer trying to rush towards the next stage thinking that it will be better than the present.

When you are only living in the future, you are stealing your present from yourself. It can be hard, but learning to live in the present means you can see how amazing your life already is.

We all look at the years ahead of us, and perhaps it’s things like wanting your life to speed up so that you can graduate from college, regain your freedom once your children are out of the house, and so on.

However, when was the last time you:

  • Spent time thinking or relaxing by yourself, with no distractions?
  • Went on a walk or hike without any electronics?
  • Stopped to enjoy the day – such as the smells, the sun, or the weather?
  • Spent meaningful time with your family, including grandparents and other extended family members?
  • Felt truly happy in a particular moment?

While thinking about the future is important, being able to be happy in the present is truly a gift!

Related reading on how to live in the present:

Now, trying to live in the present doesn’t mean that you should give up on your future and not save for retirement, or something else along those lines. However, it does mean that you should have a healthy balance – living now and planning for your future.

If you ask anyone older than you about what they regret the most, it’s probably not enjoying life as much as they could.

Instead of rushing through your life to the next phase, you should think about what you can do today to enjoy your life now. And no, you don’t need to spend a fortune to enjoy life – you can do so on a budget.

Life goes by quickly, so finding happiness now is important.

After all, you only have this one chance.

 

Here are my tips on how to better live in the present and enjoy life:

  1. Think positively. Being positive can help you in many ways. Negative thoughts are something that plague many of us each and every day; however, they can wreck any happiness that you may be feeling. When learning to live in the present, negativity will definitely hold you back.
  2. Get rid of the “extra” in your life. The average person has a lot of extra stuff. In fact, the average house has over 300,000 items in it. That is a lot of stuff that could be messing with your mind and making you unhappy. If you are feeling bogged down by the clutter, try donating or selling some items from your home.
  3. Smile more. Just a simple smile can completely change your day. Thinking about happy things can easily change your outlook on life.
  4. Stop comparing yourself to others. You may find that you are comparing yourself to others and coming up with reasons for why something is impossible for you. By comparing yourself to others and minimizing their accomplishments, you are just holding yourself back. Sure, you may not be able to reach a goal as quickly as someone else, or it may require that you work even harder. But, that doesn’t mean that everything is impossible for you. Everyone is on a different path, and there are people who are better off than you and people who are worse off. Instead of comparing your path to those around you, you should focus on what you can do to make your dream a reality.
  5. Keep a journal. While I don’t currently have a journal, I do have this blog, which acts as a journal in a way. I am about to begin journaling in the form of paper and pen because keeping a journal can help you reflect on your past while making it easy to see how you are progressing towards your goals. Plus, spilling your heart out every so often is great for the mind and for the soul.
  6. Sit silently. When was the last time you just sat down in complete silence with no distractions? For the average person, this is probably a rare occurrence. Sitting silently can help you reflect on your life and what’s going on in the world around you. It can also help you relax, destress, and clear your mind.
  7. Appreciate the small things in life. When we take the time to see them, we all have small accomplishments and moments of bliss that happen every single day. Take the time to appreciate these small things. Whether it be enjoying the sunshine, enjoying the food you are eating, and so on, these small things can add up to a great deal of happiness.
  8. You can still dream. Remember, you can still dream. Today’s article is not saying that dreaming about the future is bad. Dreaming and setting goals for yourself is extremely important. The key here, though, is to have a healthy balance. Plan for the future, but enjoy the present as well.

Are you guilty of wanting to rush life? Are you currently happy and finding ways to live in the present? Why or why not?


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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. Anne from Weird Hacks

    I have always been one to rush everything in life. When I was 13, all I wanted to do was get older, have sex and leave my parents house. I wasn’t living in the present or enjoying things normal 13-year-olds enjoyed.

    My impatience made me depressed and cost me so much. There’s no day that goes by without me wishing I could just go back and change it all.

    When we are in a rush to achieve to so much, we often make mistakes. I grew up in a world where people kept telling me “there’s no time” so I made it a priority to achieve all I can before the time train leaves.

    However, I have come to realize that the only thing I have in abundance is time. These days, I’m not in a rush to do anything anymore. I do not stay around people that make me feel like I’m pressed for time.

    I have dreams, I have goals and I have time to achieve it all. My past experiences has taught me to stop living only for tomorrow.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing Anne.

  2. Ember @ An Intentional Lifestyle

    This has been a struggle for us since we got together. Hubs and I have had that tendency since dating, rushing to marriage and to get out of school. Then to move back to our families. Then this and that, always planning the future. We have (in the last couple of years) really tried to stop that mindset. Planning for the future is totally okay, but when that turns into rushing the present, not so okay. I will say that having kids makes you so much more aware of time passing. They change so fast, and it has helped us want to slow time down a bit and enjoy them. But, I do love a good reminder to enjoy the present amidst the chaos of life.

    1. Yes, I think a lot of people do this. Once you realize what’s happening though, that’s when it’s important to change for the better.

  3. That’s such a powerful quote. I have to admit I am rushing through life right now. I feel like there’s always something I’m in a rush to finish. Once I’m done with it, there will sure be another hurdle.

    It stresses me out so much and sometimes affects my relationship with my spouse.

  4. Matt @ Optimize Your Life

    This is something I’ve been working on a lot over the past few years. It’s easy to always reach for the next thing and to keep pushing for bigger and better. It’s much harder to stop and look around and enjoy your present. It definitely takes a lot of work to get to that place, but I’m getting better and better.

    Thanks for this reminder.

  5. I’ve definitely been guilty of this at times, but recently, my husband and I have found ourselves in a pretty good situation. We moved to the area we would like to live in long term and bought what may be our “forever home”. Suddenly, I have found a bit more of a relaxed state when I think about the future. I have time to explore our new area, time to enjoy the moments with our son, etc. It isn’t a total fix (I still want to speed up life at times!), but being a bit more settled has really helped us.

  6. Oh thank you for sharing this! I try to be more mindful and grateful for my day to day life, but it can get difficult when you have all of these goals that you feel you should be reaching. I needed to read this!

  7. Brittany

    Last week I pulled out an old, empty journal to try to get back into the habit of journaling as well. You’re right that it really helps to process the past and experience/understand today’s emotions. I don’t know why I stopped doing it!

  8. Michelle, this is an awesome and needed post! I’ve struggled for years with the balance of working for the future, while appreciating the now. Still workiing on it! Posts like this help! Also, I’ve been doing the 5 Minute Journal lately, and it has been a great daily practice of gratitude that has helped to live in the now. Thanks for sharing this post. Grateful for it today! ๐Ÿ˜€

  9. Sylvia @Professional Girl on the Go

    I was just talking to my mom about this. I couldn’t wait to get out and live on my own and make my decisions, do my own thing. And now that I’m married, I think about how much I missed out on because I was so focused on getting to this point in my life.

    Now I keep telling myself I need to live in the moment because I don’t want to get old and have no experiences to show for it or have regrets.

  10. This is a great reminder. I am constantly trying to speed up life. Whenever I speak to someone in who is much older than me, they always tell me to enjoy my time. These are the best years. We always think the grass is always greener, when many times if we take the time to enjoy the important moments, we would realize they are in the present. I wish there were a way to know that you are in ‘the glory days” while you were living them.

  11. Great post! One thing.. I always worry when people suggest going for walks or hikes without their cell phones, especially for women. What if you are alone walking and get assaulted or worse? Or twist your ankle and can’t move or get lost on a hike. I thinks it’s safer to say “go for a walk or hike without checking your electronics” because it’s a pretty darn good idea to have your phone with you in case of emergency.

    1. Yes, you can say that instead.

  12. Mao

    The present is the present isn’t it?

    As someone who is pursuing FIRE, it does get stressful from time to time. But I’ve come to realize that everything will be just fine. Instead, I should go focus on the things I care more about.

  13. I rush when it comes to certain things in life, for sure. I’ve always been a planner – living in the future instead of the now. It’s something that I really struggled with through university, and probably still do now.

    Mindfulness and minimalism are two areas that I’ve been exploring more, but have yet to embrace. I have, however, started keeping a journal again. It’s mostly work related, since I’m in a field where almost everything is confidential and I can’t talk about it anywhere else. But it’s helped and is helping.

  14. Thanks for posting this and giving me some time to slow down today. I feel like my life is rushing by SUPER fast right now because I’m hyper-focused on getting a blog up and running. My unemployment is running out after 1.5 years of losing my job as a news reporter, so I’m trying so so hard. But, I do make sure to take time and go out into nature, whether it be hiking, on my sailboat, or just a walk down the street. Also, spending time with friends and family, or just sitting in a back reading a book with a good glass of wine. Life is too short to miss!

    1. I am loving your blog and I can tell you are putting a lot of hard work towards it ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Juny

    WOW! Just what I needed to read today! Powerful quote!

    Thank you

  16. There was a country song that was similar to what Sustainable Human wrote. I don’t remember the singer or title but it something along the lines of “You’re going to miss these days…”

    Having children and turning 30 has helped me realize life goes by too quickly. While I don’t necessarily have to many mulligan requests for my childhood and teenage years, I wish I wasn’t as stubborn in my 20s.

    1. At least you realized it now ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. #5 all the way home!!!!! I regret not keeping a diary when I was 16 – oh boy am I not going to repeat that when I’m looking back at age 60. Hello bloggg!

  18. Beautiful post. I’ve had to stop myself from doing something similar where I focus so much on a point where “I’ll be set.” In my mind that happens once I get to or achieve the next stage, a certain salary, a certain net worth amount, etc. Sometimes I forget to enjoy where I’m at. Thanks for the reminder…

  19. Sarah

    Your eight principles are a snapshot of my life. I don’t know if it’s because I’m not in the workforce and pretty intentional about the company I keep, but overall life is peaceful and the days move at a comfortable pace.

    I used to be on the fast track. I think finance exacerbates certain personality traits and I don’t believe they fall away completely. But I wouldn’t trade the cadence I have now to get back in the fray. Life is good.

  20. Yes, this quote is a favorite of mine.

  21. Krishna Govada

    Thanks a lot for sharing this. I was actually facing this situation of not living in the present.

    I have a 6 Months baby now and I am not at all spending time with her and just focusing on earning more money and make my daughters life awesome.

    I am sure my focus is good but at the same time I should not miss the time where I can spend some time with her, see how she smiles, see how she behaves to my smiles etc.

    Thanks again. I will start doing it from today itself.

  22. Rebecca Parker

    Thank you so much for this post. I can’t begin to tell you how much it is needed right now. For those of us who are still working full time jobs and trying to work on a blog, we sometimes forget to take time out to be in the present. Ro be thankful for the little things and be mindful of the moment. And for me who has a blog that is all about positive thinking….I am reminded that even I need a little nudge sometimes. Thank you for that nudge! Be blessed, Michelle!

  23. Those are great positive thinking ideas. They reminded me to focus on today and not to worry much about tomorrow. I feel I am often happier and more productive when I live in the present. Love that thought-provoking quote.

  24. Awesome reminders Michelle! In the personal finance world, we often get too caught up in our future goals that we forget to enjoy the journey. Love this article!

  25. I love this Michelle! I’m in the middle of writing a post about a similar mindset. I have a friend who constantly talks about his plans for retirement (which is at least 20-25 years away). I get the feeling that he thinks he’ll be that much happier when the time comes, but it’s taking away from the fact that he has a great life now. He’s got a loving wife and wonderful kids, a good job. On another note, I’ve heard it said that the way the human brain is wired, it’s really impossible for us to fully live in the present, and that’s probably a good thing. After all, the whole concept of hopefulness is geared towards pursuing dreams that have yet to materialize. But as you so aptly point out, we need to keep an eye on the future while doing our best to appreciate everything around us today. : ) Thanks for this!

  26. Marilyn PNW

    That is so true! I worked for 35 years at my job to ensure I would have enough for retirement, no matter what happened. Sure enough, less than a year after I retired my husband walked out. If I had retired early, I would not have had enough time to ensure a good annuity from my job. Also, Social Security benefits are greater the more you pay in and the later you claim. If you have your health, why not work longer to help ensure a financially secure future. After all, retiring early is probably not the best decision for most working class people.

  27. I assume its safe to say that we kinda all wish in a sense life would speed up. Speed up to the point of that day of financial freedom gracing us. That day we no longer have to deal with some of the challenges we face. Or some people that we don’t want to see anymore like slacker family members and so on. Living in the present is slowly teaching me patience though I’d like for some things to hurry up.