Two years ago, I was celebrating Christmas on the beach in Mũi Né in Southeast Vietnam. I complained about having to sleep in a tent and the sand in my hair. A year later, I was driving a motorbike in the North of the country. There, I whined about the rocky, uneven parts of the long and winding road that seem to have inspired every terrifying rollercoaster.
This year, I am spending Christmas in Amsterdam, and I wish I could complain about the tent or the sand or the bumpy motorbike rides. As people – no matter how rich or poor, devoted or agnostic, educated or not – we always find something to nitpick on and grumble about. We will always wish for what we do, don’t, or can’t have. The Buddha said that suffering was caused by desire and that the cessation of desire meant the cessation of suffering. And when you stopped wishing things wouldn’t fall apart, you would stop suffering when they did.
So I hope and, ironically, wish that we all find the strength and the ability to dream big, turn those dreams into memories, cherish those moments a little more, and wish a little less.