Like most of what I write, this post was inspired by a conversation I had not too long ago. We were talking about the future and where we were in our career so far. And then the conversation turned to how we were always waiting for our lives to “start,” as if everything we had done up to this point didn’t really count.

In high school, you can’t wait to get to college and for your life to really start.

Then in college, you can’t wait to graduate, because you’re still in school and have so many limitations, so you feel like it hasn’t really started yet.

Then all the sudden you’re out of school. You’re in your first job, but you’re clearly not where you want to be yet because no one lands their dream job right out of school. So, you’re right back at the: well when this happens, then my life will really start.

When I move to my dream city.
When I meet my person.
When I lose that weight.
When I get engaged.
When I get my dream job.
When I get that promotion.
When I get married.
When I start working for myself.
When I’m the boss.
When I buy the house.
When I pay off my debt.

You think to yourself, that’s when my life will start.

But here’s the thing: what was everything up until then? You’ve been living. I’ve been living.

When I talk about where I see my life going and what I want to do next, a lot of people seem to have an opinion. I’ve gotten a lot of advice about how to navigate my life choices — from people who have more life experience. And while I appreciate the concern, I am the only one who has to live with my choices day after day. I get to decide when my life “starts” and where it goes from there.

Waiting for your life to start is exhausting. I’ve spent a lot of restless nights (and by that I mean days–because I work overnight) trying to fall asleep, only to be kept awake by haunted musings of what could have been. At some point, I have to step up and change that.

In my business, I see a lot of things that really make you think more about the world. Just this weekend we reported about a 23-year-old who lost his life in a car accident. He was 23. And I couldn’t help but think what if it was me? I could have a long, healthy life ahead of me. Or I could die tomorrow. I’m sorry, Mom and Dad. But it’s true. So, why aren’t we all living like we’re dying?

I’ve spent my whole life looking way too far ahead into the future. And of course, I want to prepare for the future that I hope I have. I work very hard to set myself up for a good future. But I also want to find some happiness in the present. After all, it’s where we spend all of our time, isn’t it?

What are you waiting for?