When I received the news that my book had reached a fourth printing I thought I’d find a happy photo of the time when it had been published three years ago. In the one I found I sure look happy posing with my new book. But then I noticed that behind me on the wall is the photo of my two sweethearts. I had put it there in my hotel room to remind myself that they were waiting for me to return home after completing my book business in Tokyo.
They were waiting patiently and exploded with joy when I returned. However, just a few months later, Duke, the one on the left, collapsed on a walk, and despite emergency surgery, died of pancreatic cancer, a week later. Sophie, her life partner, seemed to just give up and two months after dropped dropped dead on a walk in her favorite field. I felt half dead myself, and wanted to follow them to wherever they had gone.
The photo unexpectedly reminds me that life is a constant process of winning and losing--we get something we want and we lose something we care about. We have the joy of publishing a book, and we have the sorrow of losing our best friends.
This truth tells me to live fully in this moment -- to live as if, “this is good as it gets.” Don’t think that only if and when a certain thing happens that you will be happy. By the time that desired thing happens, or soon thereafter, something you do not desire will happen too.
It’s the inevitable process of life -- things change, you gain some things, you lose others. While you can have visions and goals, and work hard to realize them, you also need to recognize that though you may reach them, along the way you will also suffer many losses. And while waiting and working for your desired changes to occur you won't be really living with appreciation for what you have, but with an emptiness for what you don't have.
So I tell myself that my life will never get any better than it is right now. This may sound negative, as if I’m giving up on dreams of a better life, but thinking like serves as a constant reminder to live now, with gratitude for all that is being given, not in an illusion that there is an ideal future waiting. This is as good as it gets. Don’t wait, thinking it’s going to be any better someday. “Someday” never comes. Live now! Appreciate what you have. Celebrate the wins and be present, endure the losses, and be alive in the moment.