Why Is It So Hard To Enjoy Our Happiness?

Do you ever find yourself rushing through happy moments? Thinking "Well, this is nice but I should really get home?" Me too. Let's stop. Here's how >> yesandyes.org 
A traveler friend once told me that she breaks down the best moments of her trips into monetary units.
That amazing, three-hour lunch under the Spanish moss with your best friends cost more than the $150 restaurant bill. It’s the four-hour, $400 flight that brought you to Savannah and the hour of faffing around at the car rental place. It’s the 30 minutes of Googling to find this gorgeous, hole-in-the-wall bistro and the $50 dress you bought for this trip.
Using her calculations that meal actually cost me $350 and two days of my life.
I’m sure I audibly gasped when I ran the numbers on some of my favorite memories. $550 for that time I hand-fed the sassy alpaca! $375 dollars for the afternoon Alex and I played board games in the park and ate hipster ice cream! $400 for real, actual tacos in Mexico, consumed on paper plates while sitting in plastic chairs on the side of the road.
I probably even whimpered “Dude! I don’t need any help feeling guilty about my travel spending!” And I promptly tried to forget all about it.
Even if my friend’s idea was more budget-based than inspirational, it had a surprisingly centering effect on me. Because I have this ridiculous, terrible habit of rushing through happiness.
I’m standing on the parade route at Dollywood, watching one of my favorite celebrities wave glamorously, and as soon as she’s past, I’m wondering where we parked. It’s the last day of a perfect cabin weekend with friends and instead of pouring myself another mimosa on the deck, I’m thinking about weekend traffic and looking for my phone charger.
Why is it so hard to sit in our happiness? Why is it so difficult to say “Be happy in this moment, this moment is your life” … and then stay in the moment? Am I the only one who recites that mantra and then immediately starts thinking about what I’ll make for dinner?
If this sounds familiar, let’s make a pact.

Let’s learn to sit in our happiness (even if it makes us a little uncomfortable.)

Let’s honor all the hard work and time and money that went into any given moment of transcendent joy. For every joy and laughter-filled dinner party, there are hours of menu planning, cooking, and clean up. For every triumphant finish-line-crossing, there are months of training and sweat and compromise.
When we rush through happiness, we’re disrespecting the hard work we put into making it happen. Share on XWe owe it to ourselves (and our bank accounts and calendars) to stay in those moments of joy and actually, you know, enjoy them.
Do you struggle to actually stay in your moments of happiness? Have you ever run the math on what went into making those moments happen?
photo by nainoa shizuru // cc

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  1. Annie

    Thank you for this! A wonderful, timely reminder as I head into a long weekend full of travel, family, and friends.

  2. Andi

    I definitely struggle, because I’m always thinking about the next thing I want to do! I can’t stay in the moment.

  3. Linda L

    I’ve never translated my happiness into monitary units, but I have difficulty enjoying the last day of vacation. I seem to need to be at the airport 3 hours early or something.

  4. Michelle

    Having kids has made me happier overall because they force you to live in the moment. They certainly do, and look how happy they are! I also remind myself that no matter what, I’ve handled everything that’s come my way and I will again and again. That faith in yourself definitely comes with age.

  5. Kathryn

    Staying in the moment is definitely difficult. I always struggle with remembering stuff vs enjoying it at the time. The more I enjoy stuff, the less I remember later, probably because I’m not thinking/anaylsising.

    I don’t really break things down into monetary units but I do in work units. Like, I had to work for a week to pay for this. Then I think so worth it!

  6. Lucy

    Nice post! I think society has got so fast paced and a rat race. It’s hard to enjoy the moment when you’re worrying or analysing what’s next on the ‘to do’ list…or maybe that’s just me!
    Life inside the Locket

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