Being happy in the present

I spent the last year building a home. Our first family home. (No, not this one). It’s a giddy feeling, becoming a home owner. Such a high! But once we got through the most of it I found myself strangely prone to thinking more about all the things that still need doing instead of enjoying what we have already done. I found myself developing home envy while looking at others homes with features that ours doesn’t have. Why do we always want more?

It seems what I experienced is very common, so it’s not just me. The answer lies in our biology and the primal instinct of “seeking”. We are innately driven to hunt and gather as a means for survival. There is a thrill in the search for the things we want that is a bigger high than the actual having.

This seeking instinct is triggered whenever we see something different from what we have. It’s triggered by the media who are always selling us things we don’t need on the pretext our lives will be dull without them. They are triggered by us being online so much and seeing what other people have. Half the time we are being triggered to “want” and we don’t even know it.

So, what to do with all this wanting? I am truly happy with our home, with where I am in life. I want to be able to enjoy it without constantly yearning for more. At least, not yet. I just got here!

So, I have been thinking A LOT about how to be happy right here and right now. Here’s some commitments that I have made to myself.

1. Remember where you are coming from.

Whenever the seeking starts to whirl up I remember the rented homes I grew up in. I remember the little green cottage I once lived in that made me claustrophobic and absolutely hateful of the color green. I remember not being able to pay the rent at some point. I remember resenting my landlord for taking so much of my earnings. Looking back to where you came from is a good reminder of just how much of a blessing having your own place is.

2. Wake up to gratitude

I have started to count my blessings first thing in the morning. Life, love, family and a beautiful home etc. I recognize God’s grace which brought us here. And his Love that grants us every new day to rejoice and enjoy it. Continuously yearning for more is a waste of God’s time which He lovingly gifts us.

3. Be a good steward

Two families can have the exact same floor space, the same income yet one will live more richly than the other. Taking good care of what you have, keeping it clean and making it look good adds to the joy of being in your own space. Even when you haven’t fully finished building and can’t buy new furniture yet. There is a joy that comes with turning a house into a home. It’s a whole vibe!

4. Romanticize your life

The simple every day things you get to do with family in your new home are beautiful. Each and every one of them. I remember starting to notice when the sun comes up and goes down in the new place. Spending my mornings in the dining room and my evenings on the bedroom verandah watching the sun. The pleasure of eating food from our new garden. Watching the kids make new friends. If you stop and notice there is so much that’s amazing hiding in the mundane.

The key to being happy with where you are and what you have is slowing down enough to notice. To notice that you are yearning more than you are appreciating. To notice the beauty of wherever you are in your journey. To notice that you may not be where you want to yet but you have come a really long way from where you used to be. To be grateful for everything even as you hold onto faith that more will someday come when the time is right.

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