When was the last time you had a truly lasting happy experience? You know, the kind that will always bring a smile on your face, no matter how much time has passed since it happened? Cherry and I are lucky to have heaps of these joyous memories – some just keep happening spontaneously in our everyday life, and for others we make an effort to create them.
Can happiness really wait?
You know, I think that most people don’t have enough happiness in their lives. Maybe they don’t know what makes them happy, or they just don’t think that it’s important. But the most prevalent reason I’ve seen is the illusion that we all have unlimited time here on Earth. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen people living with the notion that “happiness can wait until…”, or “I won’t be really happy unless…”. The objects are always the same: promotion, retirement, new house, better looks, better job, car, status etc.
The illusion of forever
There wouldn’t be anything wrong with that kind of lifestyle, if it weren’t based on that false premise that all of us are guaranteed to have a long life. But there is that little nagging fact that life could end at any moment – and then what? People who kept procrastinating happiness for later will find that they wasted their time, and “later” won’t ever come. It’s much better to be happy now, with whatever we have, and spend little time for future plans. When most of your life is quality time, you won’t look back with regrets when that final moment comes.
The gift of forever
With this in mind, I have thought of a test to see whether something gives real happiness or not. Imagine that you are diagnosed with an incurable disease and you are told that you’ll be gone in a matter of weeks. What will really matter then? I’d imagine that the prospect of a new car, attractive looks or promotion all of a sudden would lose its importance. In fact, I think that no tangible goods would remain on your list of what’s really important. But whatever remains on that list – hold on to them, appreciate them and make sure that you make them part of your everyday life. That is the way to enjoy truly deep, lasting happiness, the gift of forever.
(dedicated to the memory of Janie – we will always remember you, dear beloved friend!)