“I’ll finally be happy when… [I have a little more this…a little more that…a little more time…more sleep…more energy…more money…more room in my kitchen…more freedom…more help…more vacation…more love…more clothes…more wisdom…more coffee…more support…more experience…more understanding…more chocolate…more car…more peace…] When I have a little more (insert word here), then…yes, THEN, I’ll finally be happy.”
We’ve all said it. Or some variation of it.
When I was in my mid-20s I was convinced that if I found a little more love, if I made a little more money, and lost a little more weight – all of these things held the promise of happily ever after.
I put my energy into making them happen. And they did. I fell madly in love, I turned 30, I made more money, and I lost more weight. I got engaged. I got a book deal. And happiness? It was there, certainly. In fits and starts. But it didn’t provide the sense of peace I yearned for. In fact, it seemed that there was always something more to seek. Always something more to strive for. As if one promise of happiness was fulfilled and then immediately replaced by another thing to get a little more of.
And so life went on. I got pregnant. My husband and I moved. We made sure we had all the gadgets and the baby things that everybody said we needed. And then my daughter was born. There was so much that I hadn’t anticipated. More sleepless nights, more diapers, more worries and more life lessons than I could ever have imagined. But later in that first year of her life, when I was too exhausted to focus on getting more of anything other than making it through each moment, each day, each week, a strange contentment settled in.
Within my daughter’s laugh, within the calm beauty of her body curled in on herself while she slept, within the wave of her hand as she mimicked the leaves on the trees, there was so much more to be happy about. A different kind of “more.” And this contentment, this deep peace remained present. There have been many changes since then – life, work, the birth of our son, and the continual rollercoaster that young children take you on in their first few years of life.
I have had many moments of wishing for more of this or more of that. But at the very core of me, what I have learned is this: getting a little more doesn’t mean more of what’s next or what’s new or what we can get or what we can have. It’s not about things to come and it’s not dependent on “when such-and-such happens”.
Getting a little more in my world means turning my attention to the here, the right now, and getting as much as I can out of this moment.
Look up, look around, look within. Breathe deeply, open your arms, and love – and you will always get a little more. Because it really is all right here. In this moment.