Recently, I hosted a dinner party at my house. This dinner party included friends I see regularly and those I haven’t seen in a long time. It was both exciting and nerve wrecking to be hosting.
Will the food be good? Will the guests get along? Will we have enough to talk about? Those are questions that ran through my head as I prepared.
Simultaneously, I was excited by the potential. Hopefully people will make new friends tonight. Hopefully we will laugh at the crazy ways of our life and the world. I know my friends will like my mom’s salad I’m making (spoiler, they loved it!).
About halfway through the night, as I was walking to my kitchen to get more wine for my guests, it struck me: no one had checked their phones in hours.
It was a small detail, but as I thought about it later, it was revealing. The night was full of good conversation, friendly debates, and laughter. We were all so content in the company we were keeping that we didn’t feel the need to seek out more “entertainment” in our text messages, Facebook, Twitter, or SnapChat.
It is a mark of our humanity to always be looking for the next best thing. Technology has provided us with immense opportunities and also insight into how life could be. If only I had that picture perfect boyfriend, house, child, [insert other desires here] like I see on my Facebook or Pinterest feed, then my life would be better, more exciting, perfect.
I have spent too much time in my life wishing my life looked differently than it does. Sometimes that desire for more was motivating—to go to school, to a get a better job, to save money for a better apartment. But sometimes, that wishing for more led me to miss out on the really good things happening in my life at that very moment—like my loving family, my loyal friends, the safe roof over my head.
After the dinner party was over, I remarked to a friend, “wouldn’t it be nice if we had more nights like that—where we just shut off the outside world for a little bit and enjoyed what was right in front of us?”
It might seem silly to some, that a simple meal with friends and no phones was so invigorating to me. But actually, that is my point—sometimes, our greatest moments in life and love are found in the simple things, in being fully present in the people and the places placed before you.
When we spend our lives waiting for the next big moment or wishing for things we don’t have, we miss out on the love and excitement that can be found in the small moments and the things we do have—a friend telling you what they admire in you, laughing until you’re crying over a silly joke, or enjoying a good home-cooked meal.
I believe in love because the present moment is meant to be lived to the fullest. Thomas Aquinas, an ancient scholar, once said “the things that we love tell us who we are.” Happiness in life comes not from waiting for the next best thing, but from being fully engaged where you are. Let us start by loving the life we have.