Of Next Things

Do you suffer from NTS?

It is a psychologically damaging condition. It can sever relationships, sabotage opportunities and if untreated can lead to an unfulfilled life ridden with half-completed projects. It's a diagnosis I invented: NEXT THING SYNDROME. 

I'm addicted to "next things." Preoccupied with ideas and possibilities. While I'm happy with the variety of jobs I've had and art mediums I have experimented with. I've recorded crappy electronic music on Garageband and made my own "EP." I designed campaign posters for a friend of mine running for class VP. I've taken photographs. I've started small groups around interfaith dialogue. However, I left many things unfinished because I got bored and decided I wanted to find what's next.

When I get focused on what is next or what COULD be next, I begin to dislocate myself from my place. I become anxious, and I often feel stuck. I become fixated on the gap between where I am and where I think I want to be. I'm not saying to avoid setting goals, and taking inventory of our lives is often a helpful exercise. It is also crucial that we be in the moment, teasing out the opportunities the universe has for us right here, right now if we will but participate. 

Before obsessing over my next chapter, I'm going to write the chapter I am living in. Before checking out 17 more books from the library, I'll finish the stack I have at home. Before I flip open my laptop and turn on my phone, I'll breathe, run, tend the garden and be a person. Next Thing Syndrome is a function of my brain, and I am retraining myself to be aware of it. I'm on the path to recovery and, ironically, the next things I desire will become available to me as I complete on the moments I'm in. 

Don't worry about tomorrow, don't stress about what's next. Let your heart expand as you sink into the now.