I remember thinking ‘I’ll be happy when I get married.’

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I didn’t like high school.

I didn’t belong there. I didn’t fit in. I didn’t have a place. I didn’t have a group. Some people didn’t like me. Very few people really knew me. I did my best to put my head down and just muddle through. I was involved, but as soon as that last bell rang – whew, sister – I just wanted to hop in my little hunter green Toyota and race home.

I remember thinking “I’ll be happy when I get to college.”

Now I did like college. Maybe even a little too much.

Amy Weatherly

The first two years were amazing, just really incredible. People there got me. People there let me be different and quirky and goofy. I had a place there until a string of bad things happened, which turned into a breeding ground for more bad things to happen. Life got dark.

My friends started graduating. My friends began serious relationships and starting families. My friends all moved on, but I stayed put.

I remember thinking “I’ll be happy when I get married.”

And years later, I got married and I loved my husband. I loved my life.

And then six months in, before he graduated law school, I got pregnant unexpectedly and our entire life map got hurled into the wind and into the uncharted territory of the open waters. Our trajectory completely changed with the appearance of two little blue lines. We were excited, of course, but we owed money – a lot of it. We had no jobs. We had old cars. We lived hours and hours away from family. We lived in a tiny rent house with hand-me-down furniture, no working stove and mice. We had no idea what we were doing, or what we were going to do. We loved each other, but geez. How was this all going to pan out?

Amy Weatherly

I remember thinking “I’ll be happy when we have a steady job and money in the bank.”

Then my husband got a steady job. We had money in the bank. But this trend still continued.

I’ll be happy when I lose the baby weight. I’ll be happy when we can afford to build a bigger house. I’ll be happy when we have more money in the bank and we don’t need to have these stupid budget meetings.

I’ll be happy when the kids are a little older and I have some time to myself. I’ll be happen when somebody else is doing the laundry. I’ll be happy when little boys with dirty feet aren’t jumping everywhere and I can have that white couch.

I’ll be happy when my husband doesn’t have to work so much. I’ll be happy when I land that dream job. I’ll be happy when I find a good group of friends. I’ll be happy when…

It’s such a dangerous pattern, to always be looking ahead, to always be searching for more. To always be laying down pieces, just waiting for the one that will make everything else make sense. To always be chasing.

So yes, by all means, be about dreams. Be about goals. Be about forward progress. Be about tomorrow.

But don’t let those bright lights in your future cast a shadow on the beauty happening in your present. Don’t let the glory of the next landing spot steal the joy of the road trip you are on now.

Roll the window down.

Bask in the sunlight.

Enjoy the scenery.

Smile every time you pass a field of cows.

Dance to the catchy song on the radio.

Life isn’t always about the destination. Sometimes – most of the time – life is simply about appreciating the drive.

Amy Weatherly

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Amy Weatherly. The article originally appeared here. Submit your story here, and be sure to subscribe to our best love stories here.

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