When I moved to California, I thought that would be the answer to all of my questions. I thought fulfillment would be mine and that living there was the panacea to all that ever ailed me.

I was wrong (sort of).

Two years ago, if I would have glanced outside and saw a wintry landscape with overcast skies, I would have felt just about every negative emotion someone could feel. Today, I look out at it and smile with sincere joy. That is not the end-result that I expected to gain from California. What I anticipated was a sunshine life of living near the beach and signing a book deal with Oprah.

I missed home, I ached for home, every day that I was gone. I was just having a conversation with a friend and he said, “It’s an illusion that so many people buy into. Los Angeles sells an illusion and once you get there… Where’s the magic?” Now, nothing against all of my homies living in L.A., but this is just an example of how we can allow a thought to overtake our minds. A thought that promises of the sweeping off of our feet and relief of all our pains, that doesn’t exist. Pain is a constant in life, but so is joy. I walked through pain during the time that I lived in Southern California, but that pain led me to an unexpected and paramount joy that was always there, but one that I had never noticed. I have no regret in making the move that I made, because without it, I wouldn’t see things like I see them now.

That’s what risk and travel will do to you. They will stretch your thinking, expand your perspective, and, sometimes, make you love the things you once hated.

Do not get so wrapped up in where you wanna be that you disallow yourself to feel joy in the present moment. Don’t disallow yourself to experience joy while in pursuit of that end goal or destination. Don’t allow yourself to experience joy only when you’ve attained that end goal. Truth is, you may not ever experience that anticipated joy once you get there. I didn’t. You’ll have missed out on so many moments that could have given you joy, if only you would have allowed them to. All for the sake of, “I’ll be happy when…” You may never reach that end goal of your dream weight or live in your dream city. Don’t forfeit joy and happiness now because you will only be happy when…

You should live a life you like. That doesn’t have to happen only when you’ve done some mind-blowing achievement. Life is made, entirely, of moments. And even for people doing and those who have done amazing things, there are only so many huge WOW-moments, even for them. Any person that you can think of that has led a hugely successful life, only had so many WOW-moments (they have had more than the average person because of risk and passion, but my point is, their whole entire lives were not one extended series of WOW-moments). So what do they do with all of those other moments in life? Do they just spend all of their time anticipating the next WOW-moment, allowing themselves to be completely robbed of any joy in a moment that wasn’t winning an Oscar? Hopefully not, but that’s likely been the case for a lot of people. We can’t live only for the anticipation of what will be brought in our WOW-moments. All of the other moments should be allowed to bring us joy, too.

Live a life you like.

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