On twitter today someone sent out a partial Charles Caleb Colton quote. I can’t find the tweet again, but if it was you let me know and I’ll give full credit. I ended up doing a little reading about Mr Colton, discovered a rather prolific and very quotable writer. He comes across as one of the steady supply of wonderful eccentrics that Georgian Britain produced and sent out into the world.
The quote in full was:
“Men spend their lives in anticipations, in determining to be vastly happy at some period when they have time. But the present time has one advantage over every other-it is our own.
Past opportunities are gone, future are not come. We may lay in a stock of pleasures, as we would lay in a stock of wine; but if we defer the tasting of them too long, we shall find that both are soured by age.”
Charles Caleb Colton
There are many things that keep us moving beyond anticipation. We live in a world focused on “what’s next” and “what’s better”. We spend our time chasing what’s supposed to make up happy, but some how we never quite catch it.
One form of happiness comes from appreciating the moment; being grateful for what you have and understanding that you have all you need right here, right now, to be happy.
It’s not easy to sit back and understand this. It took me years or therapy, of leaving a bad relationship with someone who made herself feel good at the expense of others.
Happiness is not found, it’s in the moment and we just need to see it.
This transient happiness comes in many forms. It’s my cat who is very insistent that he wants to be petted. It’s when I leave for work and I’m the only car on the road. It’s sharing an art museum with my girlfriend. It’s taking a selfie with Cinderella. It’s getting a “Thank you” and no questions from my boss when I present my projects.
It’s appreciating the moments, and eventually the moments weave together into something incredible.
The appreciation of the moment comes from inside, deep inside and it’s not easy to find at first. But when you recognize happiness for the first time you want more.
I am happy, I truly am and I don’t wonder why I’m happy, I just am. I am incredibly lucky have some wonderful positive and supportive people in my life who share the understanding that life is to be lived, not necessarily at 150 miles per hour, but to be lived nonetheless. I know who I am and today I like that person very much.
Happiness does not come from just going after one experience after another, the important part is appreciating what you are doing at the time. Being a good consumer and going after the next shiny thing may bring a little rush, but it also brings stress and rather quickly you feel empty again. No one gives a prize for being the person who has the most stuff when they die.
I don’t have the answers, and I certainly don’t claim to be omnipotent or know what anyone else should do. However I do believe most of us have everything we need right now to find that first glimmer of true appreciation and happiness. You may think it hokey, but be brave enough to connect with what you have today, and just maybe you’ll get what I’m on about.