To “enjoy” your life is different than how we often think of happiness. Happiness is usually dependent on the circumstances, the situation, the perception and assessment of your life. We are happy when things go well, when we get what we want. To really enjoy your life means to appreciate your life, including what is difficult or unpleasant.
Of course, we all want to be happy. We want the best circumstances, we want to be successful, we want to heal, we want to make changes and improvements wherever possible -- and we all have exactly the life we have, right now. Here is a portion of a talk by writer Anna Quindlen, and a quote by Zen teacher Shunryu Suzuki.
From Anna Quindlen’s Commencement address at Villanova, June 2000:
Get a life. A real life, not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, the bigger paycheck, the larger house. Do you think you'd care so very much about those things if you blew an aneurysm one afternoon, or found a lump in your breast? Get a life in which you notice the smell of salt water pushing itself on a breeze over Seaside Heights, a life in which you stop and watch how a red-tailed hawk circles over the water gap or the way a baby scowls with concentration when she tries to pick up a cheerio with her thumb and first finger.
Get a life in which you are not alone. Find people you love, and who love you. And remember that love is not leisure, it is work. Each time you look at your diploma, remember that you are still a student, still learning how to best treasure your connection to others. Pick up the phone. Send an e-mail. Write a letter. Kiss your Mom. Hug your Dad. Get a life in which you are generous.
Look around at the azaleas in the suburban neighborhood where you grew up; look at a full moon hanging silver in a black, black sky on a cold night.
And realize that life is the best thing ever, and that you have no business taking it for granted. Care so deeply about its goodness that you want to spread it around. Once in a while take money you would have spent on beers and give it to charity. Work in a soup kitchen. Be a big brother or sister.
All of you want to do well. But if you do not do good, too, then doing well will never be enough. It is so easy to waste our lives: our days, our hours, our minutes. It is so easy to take for granted the color of the azaleas, the sheen of the limestone on Fifth Avenue, the color of our kid's eyes, the way the melody in a symphony rises and falls and disappears and rises again. It is so easy to exist instead of live. I learned to live many years ago.
Something really, really bad happened to me, something that changed my life in ways that, if I had my druthers, it would never have been changed at all. And what I learned from it is what, today, seems to be the hardest lesson of all. I learned to love the journey, not the destination. I learned that it is not a dress rehearsal, and that today is the only guarantee you get. I learned to look at all the good in the world and to try to give some of it back because I believed in it completely and utterly. And I tried to do that, in part, by telling others what I had learned. By telling them this:
Consider the lilies of the field. Look at the fuzz on a baby's ear. Read in the backyard with the sun on your face. Learn to be happy. And think of life as a terminal illness because if you do you will live it with joy and passion, as it ought to be lived.
From Suzuki Roshi:
The most important thing is to be able to enjoy your life without being fooled by things.
“That things change” is the reason why you suffer in this world and become discouraged. When you change your understanding and your way of living, then you can completely enjoy your new life in each moment. The evanescence of things is the reason why you enjoy your life..your life becomes stable and meaningful.
You cannot repeat your life. So you cannot compare your life with any other life.