It seems that we have not only moved into the future, but we have learned to live in it too. The vast majority of people that I see around me, that are not happy, are so because they are focused too much on the future. I am not saying that considering the future is a problem, quite the opposite in fact. Considering the future is what it should be. Considering it, not living in it.
I am so guilty of this. I need something to be excited about. I often, for whatever reason, find myself unsatisfied with my current situation. I do not have enough money to be doing everything I want. I do not have a Jeep. I cannot move things with my mind. The list goes on and on. So last year I made a commitment to change the things I was not satisfied with. I wanted to go traveling, I wanted to be debt free, I wanted to live by the ocean and I wanted a job where I could be cool, wear shorts and close deals, I wanted my own business “thing” and I wanted to start a blog about how cool I am. I made an aggressive move towards those goals. I saved up, quit my job, went overseas for a couple of months, bought shorts, moved to Cape Town upon return and got a job in the digital world. And I enjoyed the process so much, I had goals, something to work towards. I was happy.
Now, I have a host of memories spanning across over ten different countries, I wake up in the morning to the sound of the ocean, put on shorts and walk to my scooter (another item I always longed for) that is parked a roads breadth away from Sunset Beach in Sea Point. I drive to a job where I am employed to close deals with a range of different clients. And you are reading a blog on how cool I am. So what gives? What is this feeling that something is still missing? Maybe I need to set new goals and begin moving towards them, not a bad idea; focus is always good and the challenges are fun. But what then? Once I have reached or attained these goals, do I just keep making new ones and continuously search for happiness in them? Is happiness really so far routed in the idea of achievements that we have to continuously strive for something in order to remain happy?
I sat on a ledge in the parking overlooking the beach this weekend (and every time I come or go) and thought about it. Gave it a proper think, the kind that you can only do by the beach side. And I came to a couple of pseudo conclusions. I think that there is something to be said about the present moment. All those often-hard-to-relate-to spiritual teachings keep harping on about it, but most the authors live/d inside monasteries or simply alone, far from the real challenges of life. Again, so what gives?
I propose a balance (another thing they keep on about) between the two. Place your happiness in the appreciation for what you have now, while continuously striving to achieve goals with the focus on learning, rather than getting. That way, either way, you have grown…and with the added bonus of stopping to smell the roses, stare into the ocean AND all while wearing shorts. Goals and achievements should be for learning, for growth and movement. Progression. Happiness should be in the now. Put it in the future and there it will remain. The future never really arrives, it simply becomes the present moment. It becomes ‘now’. Enjoy what you do have, and everyone has something to enjoy.
Happiness is a choice. Choose wisely.