I had a friend of mine when I was in university, a beautiful girl by the name of Charlene ( not her true name) She had just graduated from a business admin course and landed a job with a company. Only 23 years old she put a down payment on a house and in her own words was on her way, so to speak.
From the outside she had it all. She was young, smart, attractive, and was now making good money to boot. She had a plan for her life and everything was working out perfectly for her. She was a dynamic, goal setting individual, and from the outside it looked like her life was perfect. However, according to her things weren’t quite right. I remember her telling me. “When I find the right guy, settle down and have a family then my life will truly be complete.” I told her that I was sure she would find someone soon. She was quite a catch, so to speak. Well to make a long story short she did find a great guy and did have a family with him. I, in the meantime had moved away from my home town and had lost touch with her but buy chance ran into her ten years later. Here’s what she said. “When I get my divorce I’ll finally be free.” It’s so true of all of us isn’t it? Don’t we all wait for something to happen, or wait until we get something before we’re happy? When I get my raise then I’ll be happy. When my kids start to listen to me then I’ll be happy. When I lose ten pounds then I’ll be happy. When I retire then I’ll be happy, and on and on it goes. The when then game. We think we’ll be happy when something happens however research has shown that things start to happen faster when we live in happiness now. Happiness is an inner process which is anchored in gratitude for the now. The when then game keeps us in constant lack, telling us that this moment is never enough. The result is often anger, frustration, anxiety, and depression. Our happiness is always conditional on outer circumstances. I have another friend of mine who happens to be my acupuncturist, a Japanese fellow, who barely lives above the poverty line, and who is recently divorced, and yet he’s one of the most joyful people I know. I asked him how he was able to maintain so much joy in his life despite what was going on in his life. He looked at me with that habitual big smile of his and said.” You know, no matter how bad it gets, it can always be worse.” and then he broke into a laugh.