A simple thought to find more joy in your life: enjoy your present moment right now, without thinking of the future!
“Enjoy the present moment, adjourn the future thought” – Virgil (Aeneid)
Surprisingly I’ve discovered a lot of deep philosophy on living from the words of ancient poetry, especially from poets such as Horace and Virgil.
Every artist, writer, photographer and creator is a philosopher. Every artist has his or her own life philosophy, and shows his or her own life philosophy through his or her works.
So whenever you read or consume the artwork of another, ask yourself;
What is the moral, ethical, or philosophical message this artist is trying to impart unto me?
For example in The Aeneid by Virgil, Virgil is trying to tell us that we can be the hero of our own lives, such as Aeneas (the hero of the Aeneid). To live a happier life, we must live a more brave, heroic, brazen, and risky life of adventure and victory!
We all make the mistake in modern times that we will live forever. But in ancient times, I think more people were conscious of their own mortality. Disease was rampart back then, which meant even if you were rich or powerful, even a simple disease could kill you. If you were defiant or didn’t kowtow to the emperor, you could easily be executed or exiled. Also war was always imminent, meaning that the grim reaper was always nearby, tapping his bony fingers on your icy shoulder.
Even emperors were constantly reminded of their own mortality; apparently they even had some servant (or slave) always nearby who would whisper in his ear, “Memento mori” which meant,
Dear emperor, don’t let all this fame, power, and influence cloud your mind and judgement. You are still a mortal, and will die like a mortal.
Now is the time for us to enjoy life. Not later, not tomorrow; today!
The problem in Asian confician culture is that we are trained to delay gratification as long as humanly possible. Now this is good for the family and collective, but I think generally bad for the individual. The individual keeps delaying his or her satisfaction in life, into a distant and uncertain future.
Consider Americans as well, we don’t think we can be truly “happy” until we retire or go on holiday.
I say let’s disregard the future, because only the present moment is certain. We don’t know if we will die later today in a “texting while driving” accident, or even choking in our sleep. If we prioritize our happiness, our joy, our dancing, and our personal thanksgiving to today, we have the power to create a chain reaction; make everyday a great day, and life an epic life, every single day, until the (uncertain) day that we die!
Never delay your personal happiness.