In his excellent blog, Zen Habits, Leo Babuta has a post this week that boils happiness down to a single tenet: don't wait for it. In all of the reading and thinking I've done on the subject, the biggest obstacle to happiness is thinking of it as a future state: once we've found the spouse or had the baby or gotten the promotion, we'll finally, once and for all, be happy.
But of course life is filled with traffic jams, temper tantrums, burnt dinners and delivery people who don't show up. Like the inevitability of failure and disappointment, the people who find happiness learn to make peace with at least most of the bad stuff--I am a work in progress in this regard, to be sure--and to find ways to see the glass as half full.
Happy folks also are more prone to see opportunities for happiness, and don't deny themselves those chances because of the fear that can accompany seizing the day. Earlier in the week I figured out a way to get to Toronto for a long weekend. I lived there for seven years, and haven't been back in more than five. I sent out a few emails, and it turns out that more than a decade after I've left there are friendships so sturdy that a lot of people would still like to see me. Then I am going to visit my parents for a quick layover in Ottawa, as it's my mom's birthday.
I spent most of yesterday thinking about all the reasons why I shouldn't go--it's a lot of money to spend for a long weekend, I have to find someone to mind the pets, it will be a lot of traveling over four days. And yet one more reason: this is my first trip back to Toronto as a divorced person, and I have some really big and happy memories of exploring the city as a young married one. But I have never regretted spending money on travel, and this afternoon I am going to book my trip. Carpe diem.