Have you noticed that the autumn / winter pattern magazines have started appearing? We’ve only just passed midsummer! And already we’re planning our winter knits. Now, I know that it makes sense to do that with knitting, because projects can take a long time, so you may want to start your winter cable knit sweater in the summer, in order to finish it in time to get the most out of it. But I do wonder, is it also because it’s human nature to look ahead, rather than paying attention to right now? Is it a little bit because we all have the grass-is-greener spirit inside of us, making us want whatever season/situation we don’t currently have?
I notice distinct patterns in my reading throughout the year. In the summer, I like to read books about snowy cold climates, books on Alaska and wilderness living, whodunnits set in the bleak mid winter. In the winter, I like to read travel books set in the South of France, or Italy, or any place hot and sunny. And so on. When it’s hot, I wish it was cooler, when it’s raining, I wish it was sunny, when it snows, I wish it was summer again.
This seems to be the human default condition. Whatever we’ve got, we want something else. Everyone else’s life seems so much better and easier than our own. We think that if only this were different, or that was altered, we’d be happy. When, in fact, we’d probably only want it back again.
Why is it so hard to be content with what you’ve got, right now, right here? Why is mindfulness hard to accomplish? I read once that when you’re bored, it simply means that you have stopped paying attention to the here and now, and allowed your mind to wander forwards or back, anywhere but on the moment that is happening now. That makes sense to me. And explains why I get so easily bored!
But I still haven’t quite figured out how to overcome that dissatisfaction and distractedness. It’s tough, it fights against human nature. If we didn’t plan for the future, we simply wouldn’t survive. So it’s programmed into us to do so. The trick is learning to rein that in, so that it doesn’t overtake our enjoyment of whatever our life is right now.
That’s a trick I haven’t quite got figured out. If you have, then share it!