'Happiness is the absence of the striving for happiness' (Zhuangzi) 'Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly , may alight upon you' (Nathaniel Hawthorn)
Most of us have had the thought, 'I'll be happy when...' It stems from the idea that we cannot be truly happy in this current moment. Instead, we search for happiness, as if it a goal rather than an state of mind that we can cultivate. We tell ourselves the story that only when a particular event/situation happens and we get what we want (e.g. money, job, partner, marriage, et cetera), that then, and only then, can we be happy. Although we tell ourselves stories about what will bring us happiness, we often find that if we get what we had hoped for, it brings its own set of problems. Or, even if we 'find' happiness, the experience is fleeting, and so replaced with disappointment and/or discontentment. This is because we lose appreciation for what we have, and therefore begin again the relentless search for the 'thing' that we believe will bring us happiness. The more stories we tell ourselves about what will bring us happiness, the more we remove ourselves from the here-and-now, and thus find it harder and harder to appreciate what we already have. For happiness is not a goal, but the experience of both connecting to, and having gratitude for, what we already have in our lives. As John Lennon said, 'life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans' (based on a quote by Allen Sanders, 1957). One way of living in the moment, is to practice mindfulness.