I've gotten an insight into how to make life more satisfying. Focus on generally-unnoticed unchanges, what stays the same, rather than obvious alterations.
Here's what I mean.
If your life is like mine, and I bet it is, it's full of damn's. For example: each example coming from recent actual My Life experience --
Damn, the water heater is leaking!
Damn, a wheel came off of my longboard!
Damn, I gained two pounds!
Damn, I tweaked my left hip and it feels weird!
In his fascinating new book, "Antifragile," Nassim Nicholas Taleb offers an insight into why these sorts of irritating damn's throw us off track in our search for happiness.
We notice what varies and changes more than what plays a large role but doesn't change. We rely more on water than on cell phones but because water does not change and cell phones do, we are prone to thinking that cell phones play a larger role than they do.
Those words got me to thinking.
About what is important to my feeling of well-being, yet goes largely unnoticed because it is always there -- sort of like how a fish takes water for granted because it's immersed in it, but couldn't live without the liquid in which it floats and moves.
I concentrated my thoughts on my immediate surroundings, our home, since my wife and I have been doing some long-range pondering about where we'd like to live when our non-easy-care house on ten acres becomes too much of a hassle to maintain for us senior citizen baby-boomers.
The timing of that when has something to do with how we balance the irritations of our rural home against its pleasures.
As noted above, I tend to notice the "damn's" related to maintenance of our house, yard, and acreage. When things go wrong I have no choice but to concentrate on dealing with them. Those problems are in the forefront of my home-awareness, while the unchanging background is pretty much taken for granted.
I'm trying to rectify that myopia by viewing my life from a more mindful, fresh perspective.
For example, walking the dogs every evening, I'm aware of how much I enjoy the paths we take, all unpaved, natural, woodsy. Down to the creek, across the little bridges I built, up the hill past towering firs, around the community lake inhabited by ducks, geese, turtles, and various other critters.
After twenty-two years of living here, I'm familiar with every step along that looping path. Changes tend to leap out more than what stays the same. Damn, someone rode their horse on the trail before the ground was dry enough; look at the hoof damage!
Now, though, I ponder how important that dog walk is for me. And how much I'd miss my surroundings if we moved somewhere else. How many homes are so close to a natural area with such a wonderful variety of plants and animals encountered in a half hour walk where usually I don't see another person?
What my wife and I have nearby all the time to enjoy is marvelous.
But too often we focus on the fallen tree that needs to be cut up, the blackberries that keep regrowing, the ground squirrels and moles that attack our yard. In truth these are just minor blemishes which barely affect our pleasurable view of where we live.
Why, then, do I zero in on them so much? Because, like Taleb says, they are glittery moving irritation-objects, distractions that capture my gaze instead of the unchanging background that gives me so much satisfaction.
I need to become a mindful fish, much more aware of the water in which I continually swim.