Tiny tip—key to contentment

An old brick house with bay window fronted by straggly rose bushes and tall weeds

“When you love what you have, you have what you love.” Buddhist saying.

An interesting shift of attitude happens naturally to many people in later life. They stop yearning for what might have been and embrace the life they have. They find that accepting and loving their present way of life brings a sweet contentment.

If you are not yet old, why not try it anyway? All you have to do is think a new thought.

Joie de vivre (joy of living) is found now, here. There’s joy to be found in the life you are living now. There’s no joy in brooding over the life you do not have.

Thanks to blogger Marco M. Pardi for reminding us of this simple truth.

19 thoughts on “Tiny tip—key to contentment

  1. Cathy Cade says:

    I never did see the point in hankering after things we could never afford, and I had plenty of other things going on to fill my life.
    In time, some of those things I didn’t hanker after came along anyway. I don’t reacall any I would have missed if they’d never happened.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Pre-social media, we had no idea of who to envy!

  2. mpardi2013 says:

    Thank you for developing this, Rachel. Of course, over the years I have heard consistent rejoinders claiming that this principle stifles growth and achievement. Sometimes that’s a hard position to rebut. Siddhartha Gautama’s admonition, “Desire is the root of all suffering” invokes similar responses. I suppose the key, especially for young people, is to discover and develop ways of growth which benefit others while benefiting themselves. But your development is well taken; we older folks just might surprise ourselves with a positive assessment of what we do have in life.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      That ubiquitous exhortation to strive and succeed is all very well, but it often has a moralising or bossy tone. Then if people swallow it whole, they feel their life is a failure if it’s not like the life of Kylie or Bill Gates. I think in old age there’s a noticeable divide. The love-what -you’ve-gotters are happy. The regretters can be sad or even bitter. What a waste of the bonus years.

  3. Sadje says:

    A beautiful reminder.

  4. I second that.
    Happiness is wanting what you have, not having what you want.

  5. cedar51 says:

    I’m not sure if I agree…one has to have dreams and desires to keep one moving along the pathway of life. And if necessary take the side path to see other, maybe better ways forward. Otherwise we would just stagnate….

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Glad you raised this! You see there’s no contradiction, as I see it. When you love what you have, you can still have adventures and dreams. They’re part of what you have and you can live them too, instead of feeling stuck and frustrated.

  6. Elizabeth says:

    I agree with you wholeheartedly. With all this focus on mindfulness lately, urging us to be present in the present, we already are!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Otherwise we are wasting those bonus years.

  7. simplywendi says:

    thank you for this Rachel. it is something I am working very hard at accepting.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      This looks easy but sometimes the first step can be challenging. Good luck.

      1. simplywendi says:

        you are so right!

  8. Jonno says:

    Such an incredibly simple concept isn’t it but one that so many people never grasp. We try to embrace each day and really be aware and grateful for everything we have. So many people spend their lives striving for the next ‘big thing’ and never actually appreciate or enjoy what they have now or where they are.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Very true. We could all do with a reminder now and then.

  9. Ally Bean says:

    I’ve found this to be true. I rarely think about my past with rergrets now, I’m much more in the flow of now. Nice to be reminded of this reality that is easy to lose sight of in today’s complex angry world.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Simply growing older helps a lot. Now if only we could accelerate aging, what a popular service that would be, ha ha.

  10. srbottch says:

    Wonderful thought. And I feel that sentiment at times, more often than not feeling it.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Better than a perfect score. Perfect would be too good to be true 🙂