ill be happy when…

27 Jun

i’ve always been into delayed gratification.

Actually, i’m not talking about some kind of kinky sex game. I’m just not good at enjoying the here and now.

I seem to have always lived my life playing the “i’ll be happy when…” game. You know the one. If i can just get the house clean i’ll sit back and enjoy myself. When i get that promotion i’ll celebrate like there’s no tomorrow. If i could just have those shoes that’d be me. I’ll stop wanting then.

And of course, as soon as that need or desire is satisfied i don’t sit back and revel in gratitude, happiness, delight. I simply move on to the next task, and promise myself i’ll be happy when…..

Apparently it’s being in the thankless mindset of “doing” rather than “being”. From what i know about Buddhism (and i don’t know much) i think it may be based on just this premise. Living for the moment. Delighting in each sensory experience. Happiness comes from the here and now, rather than waiting for a perfect state of being that will never come.

I haven’t got what i know about this from Buddhism though, someone emailed me a chapter from a book. Can’t remember the name.

I’m not usually into self-development or self-help books but this one struck a chord.

I was in the hairdresser the other day having my hair washed and thinking “gosh that feels g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s, why doesn’t it feel this great when i wash my hair?”. Thing is, next time i washed my hair, i realised it does feel that great. Give your scalp a nice big scratch, feel the warm, soapy water melt over your head. I’m just usually too busy thinking thinking thinking to notice.

I’ll be thinking about the day ahead. Solving the little problems i think might come up. Practising discplining the children in a calm voice. Planning the shopping list. The moment comes and goes without me noticing.

It’s a really hard thing to do. Stop your mind from wandering away from the moment. But it’s actually really rewarding.

Here’s me going all new age on you. So uncharacteristic for someone like me who hates hippies, crusties and students. But that’s a whole new post.

16 Responses to “ill be happy when…”

  1. kelloggsville June 27, 2010 at 8:32 pm #

    The only time I can do that is when I’m walking. The rest of the time my mind is always racing ahead. I think I’m wores than Walter Mitty!

  2. kelloggsville June 27, 2010 at 8:33 pm #

    wores?!!! see I was racing ahead….worse!

  3. Susie June 27, 2010 at 8:39 pm #

    So true. I wrote something similar a while back that you might enjoy.

  4. franki June 27, 2010 at 9:19 pm #

    You should try Buddhism without beliefs by Stephen Batchelor. It’s a good little book of calm that doesn’t ask you to subscribe to anything or to unsubscribe from anything. Just some good head straightening advice. Not what I’d consider a self help book but i don’t read them either so perhaps it is, simply some perspectives that are worth considering.

  5. Saffy June 27, 2010 at 10:11 pm #

    Ah the wandering and racing mind game. I know that one too. Franki’s suggestion on that book sounds a goodie. I know that I need to get much better at living in the ‘now’. Very grown up reading for a Monday morning 😉

  6. Livi June 28, 2010 at 1:06 am #

    I can picture you now with your dreadlocks and dungarees, sat around on your all natural sofas in rooms lit only by candles 😛 I can see into your future!
    Great post though! You’re right that it is very rewarding to just experience the moment, the little sensations, to notice the everyday. Life is so fast paced now that most of us miss all the fabulous bits that make it so wonderful.

  7. Heather - Notes From Lapland June 28, 2010 at 9:11 am #

    it is a very hard thing to do, this being in the moment thing. I find meditation helps, even if it does sound all new age hippy dippy 😉

  8. yummymummyno1 June 28, 2010 at 10:24 am #

    It can be hard to enjoy the here and now.. but it is so worth it.. But I am a bit of a hippy at heart really ; ) x

  9. JulieB June 28, 2010 at 1:17 pm #

    Guilty as charged, especially when it comes to my job at the moment for some reason. I’ll look forward to the weekend… the next holiday… when I was pregnant it was the next maternity leave… whereas really I should stop faffing about and get down to things and enjoy the good bits that happen in between. Excellent post, as always.

  10. bsouth June 28, 2010 at 2:03 pm #

    Yes. I’m exactly the same. Always waiting for the next thing to happen before I can be happy, and of course I never quite get there.

    Tomorrow morning when I wash my hair in the shower I will try and think only about that and not the million and one other things that, like you, I normally think about in the shower.

  11. jfb57 June 28, 2010 at 5:08 pm #

    Crumbs! I find it scary how you can describe me so often!! 🙂
    I’m terrible in planning for the future & missing today. Will get in the shower later & ‘feel’ my hair wash!

  12. amodernmilitarymother June 28, 2010 at 6:40 pm #

    I am always happy unless I am grumpy then I am clearly not happy. I am a tree hugger, who never has time to hug a tree, buy organically and I drive a 4×4. Maybe I am just a hypocrit – not quite the hippiness I was aiming for. Must try harder! I have left something for you at my place – go and check it out! x

  13. keatsbabe July 25, 2010 at 2:22 pm #

    Just caught this blog on my mate Jo’s slummysinglemummy blog. Love it. The epitaph that my firends and family would write for me (not for ages yet obviously – see not living in the moment) is ‘She tried too hard and thought too much’. I think you are supposed to close your eyes tight for a few moments, open them and really SEE what is out there for a change. Its not just a hippy thing – it’s what a lot of mental health treatment is based on now – mindfulness.

    Anyway – you have inspired me to write on teh subject in my own blog sometime. Thanks!

  14. The Contented? Maybe September 13, 2010 at 11:46 am #

    I read your post while eating baked beans on toast. Paused a moment to savour the taste and was reminded of childhood lunchtimes with my mum while my brother was at school. Bliss (not that I don’t love my brother, but it was nice having Mum to myself for a change). Stopping for a second does seem to have a positive effect, then, and beans beans they ARE good for your heart, the more you eat the more you… reminisce.
    Lovely post. 🙂

    • marketingtomilk September 13, 2010 at 11:48 am #

      Thanks. I do think it would do us all a world of good to practise this on a daily basis. I borrowed a book about the key to happiness by the Dalai Lama once, and was really disappointed because it didn’t give me the miracle i was looking for. It was all about this being state of mind. Now i get it.

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