“Most of our troubles are due to our passionate desire for and attachment to things that we misapprehend as enduring entities.” ~Dalai Lama
My boyfriend and I spent a couple of days in Las Vegas for Valentine’s Day. These days I get excited about the buffets and shows, but formerly, I found the city a little depressing.
First, I felt sad for the people who seemed a little lost, either for having lost vast quantities of money, or for having lost a part of themselves (something I know all too well).
Secondly, I felt the inevitable crash that follows overstimulation and excess of any kind. (I had a love/hate relationship with both).
But there was more to it than that. When I first went to Vegas years back, I felt like I was standing smack dab in the middle of a lifestyle I couldn’t afford. Amid the sea of tight designer dresses, in my cheap, modest clothes, I feared I looked out of place.
I also found the luxurious ambiance of most casinos stressful. Every time I passed a majestic fountain, or a fancy velvet couch, or a store full of lavish spa items, I thought about how simple my own apartment was. I couldn’t simply enjoy my surroundings because I was too busy wishing I could own it all.
During one trip, though, something occurred to me: the world is full of beauty I can take in, regardless of what I have—but I will never be able to appreciate it if I’m too busy trying to hold onto it.
This isn’t only true of all that glitters. It’s true of all the sights, sounds, and moments we may want to bottle and carry with us forever.
We can’t fully appreciate a picturesque sunset if we’re wishing it would never rain again.
We can’t fully enjoy a moment of true connection if we’re wishing we’d never feel alone again.
We can’t fully savor a relaxing day if we’re wishing we’d never be busy again.
Maybe the key to happiness is to focus less on making moments last and more on making them count.
We do that by choosing to fully experience them instead of wishing they wouldn’t end.
It’s human nature to wonder if we’d be happier with more. Perhaps the key is to work with that instinct and realize we can have more joyful experiences if we’re willing to cling to less.