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Somehow life always runs short of providing us everything that would make us truly and completely happy. This tendency is so repetitive that we consciously look for things that are missing, on rare occasions that life does live up to our expectations. I wonder why we fail to be satisfied with what we need and have, instead of what we want. The big thing that we want is, in a way ‘the destination’ and the efforts we make to get there, ‘the journey’. But still we forget to enjoy the journey, despite knowing that once we reach the destination, we would continue our progress towards the next big thing. There is nothing that stops us from wanting ‘a little more’. We are convinced that we would be happy once we have ‘a little more’ but fail to realize that we can never have enough.

Without realizing that we would be happy only when we make peace with what we have instead of hankering after what we want, we continue battling bouts of despair. God, faith, providence, destiny are all ways of coping with the perceived deficiencies in what life hands out to us.

When I look at myself, I feel incredibly fortunate to have so many good things in life, and yet, my happiness is marred by my own feelings of inadequacies. I think that I would be happier if I had that one thing, all the while knowing that I would pine after something else once I have that thing. When I was young, I wanted to finish my studies quickly and start working. When I started working, I looked forward to breaks and then worried myself over the impending change that marriage would bring. Now that I am married I want to know what I am worrying over. Geez it never gets over. We keep making ourselves miserable over what we don’t have instead of enjoying what we do have.

It’s a lucky and rare person indeed who knows what they want to do in life and learns to be happy with what life hands out to them.

And on this note, I remember Mary Schmich’s sunscreen speech:

Ladies and gentlemen of the class of ’98: Wear sunscreen

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now. 

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they’ve faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine. 

Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blind side you at 4 PM on some idle Tuesday. 

Do one thing every day that scares you. 

Sing. 

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts. Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours. 

Floss

Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself. 

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how. 

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements. 

Stretch

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t. 

Get plenty of calcium. 

Be kind to your knees. You’ll miss them when they’re gone. 

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else’s. 

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own. 

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room. 

Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them. 

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly. 

Get to know your parents. You never know when they’ll be gone for good. 

Be nice to your siblings. They’re your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future. 

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young. 

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. 

Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. 

Travel

Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders. 

Respect your elders. 

Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out. 

Don’t mess too much with your hair or by the time you’re 40 it will look 85. 

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth. 

But trust me on the sunscreen.

Somehow life always runs short of providing us everything that would make us truly and completely happy. This tendency is so repetitive that we consciously look for things that are missing, on rare occasions that life does live up to our expectations. I wonder why we fail to be satisfied with what we need and have, instead of what we want.  The big thing that we want is, in a way ‘the destination’ and the efforts we make to get there, ‘the journey’. But still we forget to enjoy the journey, despite knowing that once we reach the destination, we would continue our progress towards the next big thing. There is nothing that stops us from wanting ‘a little more’. We are convinced that we would be happy once we have ‘ a little more’ but fail to realize that we can never have enough.

Without realizing that we would be happy only when we make peace with what we have instead of hankering after what we want, we continue battling bouts of despair. God, faith, providence, destiny are all ways of coping with the perceived deficiencies in what life hands out to us.

When I look at myself, I feel incredibly fortunate to have so many good things in life, and yet, my happiness is marred by my own feelings of inadequacies. I think that I would be happier if I had that one thing, all the while knowing that I would pine after something else once I have that thing. When I was young, I wanted to finish my studies quickly and start working. When I started working, I looked forward to breaks and then worried myself over the impending change that marriage would bring. Now that I am married I want to know what I am worrying over. Geez it never gets over. We keep making ourselves miserable over what we don’t have instead of enjoying what we do have.

It’s a lucky and rare person indeed who knows what they want to do in life and learns to be happy with what life hands out to them.

And on this note, I remember Mary Schmich’s sunscreen speech:

Ladies and gentlemen of the class of ’98: Wear sunscreen. 

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now. 

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they’ve faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine. 

Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blind side you at 4 PM on some idle Tuesday. 

Do one thing every day that scares you. 

Sing. 

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts. Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours. 

Floss. 

Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself. 

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how. 

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements. 

Stretch. 

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t. 

Get plenty of calcium. 

Be kind to your knees. You’ll miss them when they’re gone. 

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else’s. 

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own. 

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room. 

Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them. 

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly. 

Get to know your parents. You never know when they’ll be gone for good. 

Be nice to your siblings. They’re your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future. 

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young. 

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. 

Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. 

Travel. 

Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders. 

Respect your elders. 

Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out. 

Don’t mess too much with your hair or by the time you’re 40 it will look 85. 

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth. 

But trust me on the sunscreen.

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