A happy life is just a string of happy moments. But most people don’t allow the happy moment because they are SO BUSY trying to get a happy life.
– Esther Hicks
The quote above arrived in an email this week and it impacted me like a cold bucket of water on a hot summer’s day.
My oldest daughter, whenever she is reminded of something she already knew but forgot, inevitably says, “Ohhhh yeahhh!” When I read this quote I had the same reaction.
How easy it is to slip back into the habit of postponing the experience of a happy life until all the circumstances line up perfectly. It’s so LOGICAL to think, “When my bills are paid off,” or “When I get that promotion,” or “When my health improves” THEN I’ll be happy.
I ate breakfast at a restaurant this morning and was lucky enough to have a young family sit nearby. The two young boys looked to be about 3 or 4 years old and were cousins (okay, I was eavesdropping). Asian, they had dark hair sticking up straight in today’s style and wore matching green t-shirts. When they laughed, their faces would light up and their eyes disappear. And they laughed a lot. The older of the two would do something comical (like drink two drinks out of two straws at the same time) and his younger cousin, of course, had to follow suit. They were having wonderful, happy moments, for no reason whatsoever except that it felt good to laugh and be silly. I was having my own wonderfully happy moments watching their unapologetic joy.
I don’t know if I would have had those moments before I read the quote that woke me up. I’d been feeling sorry for myself of late, worried about a troubled friend. I’d been postponing my own happy life until she “got better.” How silly. My delaying my own happiness won’t help her get better. On the contrary, it will probably delay it.
Each day, we have many opportunities for happy moments. Beyond the obvious (sun shining, birds singing) there are the not-so-obvious, things like:
• completing a task on time
• being able to help a co-worker
• the boss commenting on a job well done
• getting to work in plenty of time to have a leisurely cup of coffee before plunging in
• finding a solution to a challenging problem
• the sudden realization that you’re really GOOD at what you do
When you finish reading this, I invite you to spend the rest of the day having happy moments. Every time you have one, put an asterisk on a piece of paper and, before you go home for the day, add up how many asterisks you have.
Once you’ve counted them up, pause for a moment and ask yourself the following questions:
• Were you clearly more productive as a result?
• How do you feel right this minute?
Then go home and ask whomever you live with (even your cat), “What were YOUR happy moments today?” The answers may surprise you.
I do want you to have a happy life but that is no longer my wish for you. Instead, I wish for you a never-ending string of happy moments.