This is a question that some people ask themselves all the time. And I know I write about it all the time too. For some, it seems that the pursuit of happiness is like a long road trip with no scenery. It seems to take forever to get there and nothing really fun along the way. Contentment seems to be the elusive thing that escapes their grasp on a regular basis. Perhaps some answers can be found in this excerpt from Linda Dillow’s book titled, Calm My Anxious Heart:
It was spring but it was summer I wanted; the warm days and the great outdoors.
It was summer but it was autumn I wanted; the colourful leaves and the cool dry air.
It was autumn but it was winter I wanted; the beautiful snow and the joy of the holiday season.
It was winter but it was spring I wanted; the warmth and the blossoming of nature.
I was a child but it was adulthood I wanted; the freedom and the respect.
I was twenty but it was thirty I wanted; to be mature and sophisticated.
I was middle-aged but it was twenty I wanted; the youth and the free spirit.
I was retired but it was middle-age that I wanted; the presence of mind without limitations.
My life was over but I never got what I wanted.
The Classic “Never Satisfied”
This is a classic example of never being satisfied with what we have. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence than side we’re on now. Sometimes we’re too busy looking ahead or looking back to see what we actually have right now. The future holds the promise of fulfillment while the past gives us a sense of identity. Both of these pull us away from what is most important: right now…this very moment. As Eckhart Tolle said in his book, The Power of Now, “There is never a time when your life is not ‘this moment’.” And in “this moment” is where contentment can be found.
Don’t waste your life constantly stuck in the past, worrying about what you’ve done or what’s been done to you. Don’t waste all your time obsessing and worrying about a future and all the positive and negative things that could potentially happen. Though the past and the future need our attention, we can’t let it take all of our attention. They tend to steal the joy and satisfaction from the current moment. Even when you’re reminiscing over the past, you are experiencing that in your head right now…in this moment. If you want to find true happiness, it’s not in what’s been done, nor is it in what’s to come. You can find it right now, in this moment. Otherwise, you’ll miss what you actually have right now.
I’ll leave you with this quote from the hit comedy show, The Office. The character Andy Bernard shared the importance of living in the moment and appreciating what you have while you have it: