“The high school student thinks, ‘When I’m out of this school and don’t have to do what I am told, then everything will be great!’ He leaves high school and suddenly recognises that he won’t be happy until he has left home. He leaves home and starts university and soon decides, ‘When I have got my degree, then I’ll be happy!’ Eventually he gets his degree at which time he realises that he can’t be happy until he has a job.
He gets his job and starts at the bottom of the heap. You guessed it. He can’t be happy yet. As the years roll by, he postpones his happiness and peace of mind until he gets engaged, gets married, starts buying a home, gets a better job, starts a family, gets the kids in school, owns his home, gets the kids out of school, retires… and he drops dead before he allows himself to be blissfully happy. All his present moments were spent planning for a wonderful future which never arrived”.
This is the story of someone who refused to live in the now, to enjoy the present, to be present-minded in the present moments, and stop worrying about the future. Worrying does nothing to change the future but it does everything to upset the present.
A few months ago, I made it a task to write down, at the end of each day, five things that I was grateful for. This helped me to change my perspective on many little things, and on life in general. I knew I had to come up with at least five things at the end of the day, so I was ‘forced’ to start looking for the good in everything I did.
All of a sudden, a mere phone call with my mother was now a thing to be grateful for; free lunch at the office because it was someone’s birthday was a huge deal; having a good conversation with a stranger was a thing to reflect upon, and so on.
I started learning to find most things enjoyable. I started living in the moment; being present because I thought I had to be grateful for experiencing those otherwise insignificant things in my life.
How happy are you right now? Are are you waiting to be happy tomorrow when you get married or when you are promoted at work or when your business starts making a profit, or even when you retire? I don’t think you should allow circumstances control your happiness. I think your own happiness is within your own control.
I always say that, for me, life is ten percent what happens to me and ninety percent how I choose to respond to whatever happens to me.
Next week, I plan to give you some practical tips on being and staying happy. But until then, I leave you with this challenge: Write down all the things that you are grateful for this year. Yes, count your blessings for the year and you will see that there are indeed things to be grateful for; little they may be, but you will learn to start enjoying those little moments in life, like spending time with the ones you love this season. And then watch as those little moments begin to add up to a wonderful and happy life.
So, live in the now and be happy today! And I wish you a wonderful week of accumulated happy days!
Photo Credit: Dreamstime