I’ve been thinking lately. Yes, it does happen on occasion. And I’ve noticed a thought pattern — not just my own, but a lot of people’s. It seems as though we often look ahead to some future milestone for our happiness. A few examples:
“When I get that raise, I’ll be happy.”
“When he finally proposes, I’ll be happy.”
“When the baby sleeps through the night, I’ll be happy.”
“When we retire, I’ll be happy.”
Recognize it? According to this, we’ll die miserable, because we haven’t reached that next stage, whatever it is. Not that we’re unhappy, but that next project will certainly make us happier. Right?
I’ve often caught myself thinking that way, and I now realize that it’s absurd. When I take a moment to look around me, I see nearly 11 wonderful years with Chris, and two precious little girls. I see family and friends. We have a good home and careers, which especially these days, is something to be grateful for. And of course we have photography. My point is, start appreciating the here and now, and don’t let your happiness depend on whether all the item on your list are checked off.
When I was turning 30 (although in my defense, maybe that milestone had something to do with it), I thought about how much more I wish I had accomplished: that we’d had kids sooner, that I had a more interesting job. And it was Chris, God bless his practical, no-nonsense soul, who made me look around and see that things were actually pretty good.
We all need projects and goals. But I’m glad I remembered (albeit a little late) that although they enrich our lives, it’s more important to be happy with who we are and what we’ve got. Whoever said that life was a journey, not a destination, was very wise.
That’s it for the philosophical portion of our program. Tune in next time when I go back to being my regular snarky self.