How to Stop Future Tripping

Getting engaged is fun. You just made the momentous decision to spend the rest of your life with someone. Tell anyone you just got engaged, and you get showered with wishes of congratulations, free glasses of champagne, mugs that say MR. or MRS., and sick hotel room upgrades. A whirlwind, for sure.

But approximately 14 minutes after you slipped a ring on your finger, you’ll inevitably be asked: So, when’s the wedding?

Ummm.

Can we get a second?

And then, (so I’ve heard), the day after you get married: When are you having a baby? And with spit-up in your hair and a six-week-old child on your hip: When will you have another?

No, really. I need a second… or a few years.

Whatever your life path is — whether you’re career building or country hopping or building a family (or all three), it seems like everyone is always so focused on what’s next that it becomes difficult to enjoy what is.

Even as someone who plans events for a living, I realized during the first few months of my own wedding planning that I was seriously setting myself up. Scrolling through these unbelievable dream weddings on Instagram, feeling like it was the end of the world if I didn’t have those string lights or that super cool prosecco truck (yeah, it exists). Of course I want my wedding to be an incredible day. But what is the point in spending 18+ months stressing over something that:

A) will only last a few hours, and

B) is really just about committing myself to the person I love?

I want to enjoy the hell out of that day and not worry about if the food is coming out quick enough. I want to rid myself of ridiculous expectations and just enjoy the moment. It happens in my work too. Our next big event, The GOOD Festival, is still some time away, and we constantly receive emails asking about the next one.

Of course, it’s healthy and smart to plan for, and look forward to the future. Dreaming and planning is part of what makes life fun and makes the tough days more bearable. But at the same time, we’ve become so conditioned to anticipating the future that we often dream up super high expectations, only to be let down when the dream doesn’t match up with the reality. And for many, the thought of the future provokes anxiety and fear.

Daniel Gilbert, Harvard psychology professor and author of Stumbling on Happiness, found that 12 percent of our daily thoughts are about the future… and “each of us is a part-time resident of tomorrow.” What, then, would change if we began to spend our time thinking about the now?

There is so much opportunity in the everyday. Instead of waiting and planning for the next big thing, appreciate and capitalize on the now.

Stressed over wedding planning? Write your fiancé a love note and remind yourself what it’s all about. Hate what’s happening in the White House? Don’t shrug your shoulders and wait for the next presidential election. Contact your representative or join an activist group. Wanting to get in shape for your vacation next year? Go take a walk, right now.

At the end of the day, it’s not just our biggest moments that define us. It’s meeting a friend for coffee, arranging flowers in your apartment, trying a new workout class, listening to an inspiring podcast. It’s remembering that when work gets stressful, I’m lucky to have a business with my two best friends. Think back to your best memories. Was it your high school prom? Or was it a random Sunday afternoon when you met up with your best friends for an impromptu picnic in a park? The big moments are awesome, but the little ones are too. Allow yourself — no matter how much people try to plan your life out for you — to live in the moment and find even just a little happiness, excitement and acceptance in the present.

Here’s to hoping my wedding (and our next festival!) rocks — and that every single day before and after do too.

Jen Clark is one of the three founders behind The GOOD Festival. She loves hosting plant based dinner parties, traveling to sandy beaches and feasting on cauliflower crust pizza — she’s certified in culinary nutrition and recently completed her RYT200 teacher training.

The GOOD Fest is the culmination of three wellness lovers and friends: Jen Clark, Jess Baumgardner and Kate Van Horn. Their individual definitions of wellness differ, but they all have the same goal: to live their most vibrant, fullest lives. They’ve found that wellness is not one-size-fits-all, and today, they’re here to help you find the wellness path that works for you. They’ve dedicated their collective, extensive experience and credentials in the wellness world to create approachable wellness events that build community and unity. The GOOD Fest offers innovative and elevated experiences that give people the support, knowledge and tools to find their own vitality and be the best version of themselves.

The Fullest readers can enjoy $20 off tickets to the upcoming GOOD Fest in LA on February 3rd. Use code THEFULLEST to receive the discount at checkout.

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One response to How to Stop Future Tripping

LOVE Daniel Gilbert and that book, one of my fave authors and I use it in my private practice with clients all of the time. Awesome article!

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