I spend a significant amount of time considering what I want from life. I think and talk and meditate about writing full-time for a travel publication, about visiting friends in Australia and Israel, about living in San Francisco, about owning a home in the south of France, about becoming fluent in Spanish, about girl trips with my best friends.
There are many things I want to do and see and there are even more people I want to stay connected with and others I hope to meet. It’s great to focus on ambitions and goals, but I find myself doing this very, very frequently. I consistently focus on what I want that I don’t have, rather than what I want that I do have.
I saw a quote on a French postcard this year that switched on a dusty light bulb inside my brain. I read it and instantly felt chills form on my skin. I paused in the store and stared at the words and repeated them over and over in my mind, letting their power and weight sink in.
Here’s the quote: “The key to happiness is continuing to want what you already have.”
I tend to look toward the future and what I hope will happen, rather than recognizing the aspects of my life that I love and that are already in full swing. This quote embraces the idea that we all already possess things we want. Maybe we don’t have everything we want (and surely we have a few things we don’t want), but we have so many things we enjoy that we take for granted: our health, our freedom, our intelligence, and our educations are just a few examples that are easy to overlook.
Maybe you’re in an uninspiring job situation, but you have a consistent paycheck that affords you many liberties—and you want that. Maybe you’re living with your parents (holla), but it means that you have a loving support system—and you want that. Maybe you’re drowning in debt from your college education, but you have a degree—and you want that. Maybe your best friends or family live far away, but you have people you care about enough to miss—and you want that.
When we pause to absorb and feel gratitude for the beauty in front of us, we realize that nothing is as urgent, desperate, or miserable as we build it up to be in our minds. We can still want and aspire to many things, but acknowledging the positivity in our current situations is the only foundation on which we can do that. Because how can we want more of anything if we don’t cherish what we already have?
Take some time each day to recognize what’s right and good in your life and remind yourself that you still want these things. Happiness is always in front of us; it just requires a shift in perspective to reach it.
What do you want that you've already got?