The title of this post comes from George Vaillant, the director of one of the longest running longitudinal studies of physical and mental well-being that has ever been undertaken. My attention was drawn to him and his study by Josh Miller after he posted a link on Facebook to this article by Joshua Wolf Shenk in the Atlantic (thanks Josh).
“The take home lesson is to always enjoy where you are now.”
A simple lesson, a difficult task. But the study offers a view of each concrete life in one sweep, not as a series of moments, but each as a kind of whole. In this it is akin to great literature. To see the whole of life in this way is to be reminded of its brevity, and of its incalculable depth.