Every human being on this planet seeks happiness. Why do so many of us not feel happy or fulfilled?
It doesn't seem to matter how hard we study or work, climb the ladder, make money, buy a house, have kids, own nice stuff―do all the things that seemingly should make us happy―somehow we feel we're not quite there yet and there's more to achieve before we can feel total happiness.
For just a moment, consider where you are in life right now.
Now, think: where were you and what were you doing five or ten years ago?
Imagine what your younger self would think of you now. They would be in awe, wouldn't they? They'd think, wow, you've finally moved out of home, your studies have paid off, you've landed a great job and, damn, look at that awesome car you've got!
But here's the kicker. Five or ten years ago, you were dreaming about all those things and wishing you had them. Today, you have all these things. You've fulfilled your dream. You're exactly where you wanted to be! But do you feel happy?
No. You want a nicer apartment, a better job, more money, a newer car and a whole bunch of other things.
You're still dreaming. You think that when you tick off all your must-haves, you'll finally be happy.
It won't work.
You see, while you're ticking things off your list, you're constantly adding new things as well. By the time you reach your goal, you'll have already have another one lined up. You're always projecting into the future. You're forever imagining what life will be like. But what about life right now?
If you want to be happy, hop off the hamster wheel and view life differently. Simply stop for a moment and reflect on how far you come. Consider how much your younger self would look up to you―they would kill to have your lifestyle!
Feel a sense of accomplishment and gratitude. Not tomorrow, not in five or ten years' time, but today, here and now.
There's nothing wrong with dreaming and achieving things. Life is an evolving journey; never stagnant. But the key is to not expect that having or doing all these things will give you happiness. You won't be happy once you "have everything", or when "everything will be in place". There will always be some new thing. So expecting to find happiness in the future is an endless quest. It's a bit like the proverbial carrot on a stick―you'll never reach it.
When you're on your deathbed, do you want to be regretting that you hadn't stopped more often to smell the roses? Or would you rather be thankful that every day of your life was enjoyed and savoured?
Don't wait to be happy. See that happiness can only be found in the present moment.
And anything that happens from here on is a beautiful bonus.
Stella Logan is a freelance writer who hopes to spread life nuggets everywhere.