Here’s a quote for today:
“Those whom summer’s heat tortures yearn for the full moon of autumn without even fearing the idea that a hundred days of their life will then have passed forever.”
– Buddha Shakyamuni, quoted in Mathieu Ricard’s Happiness, page 227
I love this quote because it’s so relatable: we all have a favorite season and a least favorite. Personally, I don’t like winter. I’m the kind of person who’s always cold, so in winter I have to wear layers and layers of clothes. My skin gets dry and itchy, especially with scratchy sweaters piled on, and I feel very uncomfortable most of the time. In winter we also get a lot less daylight, and that strongly affects my mood. I much prefer summer, when my skin can be out and about, unrestricted in the warm air, and there’s plenty of daylight to go around! But this quote reminds me to appreciate every day of my life, even in the winter; the seasons will come and go, but my life is finite, and I only have so many winters to enjoy. I don’t want to spend a whole season feeling grumpy and sad – it’s just not a good use of my time. So in winter I try to find the things that I do enjoy and appreciate: hot chocolate, freshly made soup, fuzzy socks, curling up with a blanket and a good book. I love the holidays, too, and in the region where I live, it’s not possible to get to Christmas without having some winter along the way.
On the surface, this quote is just about seasons and weather, but really it can be about anything that “tortures” you, making you yearn for something else. An illness, a job you don’t like, or a bad living situation can all represent seasons in a person’s life, difficult to get through. It can be tempting to think, Once this is over, then I’ll really be happy! Then we regain our health, find a new job, move to a new home, and something else becomes our challenge, and we defer our happiness again. This quote reminds me that the time to be happy is right now, regardless of what else may be happening. When we’re ill, there are still many joys we can appreciate even if we don’t feel well enough to do what we used to do. When we’re stuck in a crappy job, there are always plenty of things happening away from the office that fulfill us. Finding ways to enjoy where we are right now, even if it’s not ideal, will make us happier in our day-to-day lives, and when we feel more fulfilled in ourselves, we have more to give to the people around us as well. Don’t let a hundred days or even one day of your one precious life slip past you!