We long for what we've never had, and sometimes for what we once had, but never for what we have right now.
The problem with longing is that it's so powerful it overwrites our ability to clearly see our good fortunes.
We complain about a job until we don't have one anymore. Instead of appreciating the joy of owning your own business, you long for the days your revenue will be more stable. Instead of being happy with our homes, we long for another bedroom, a back yard, or just a little more space.
Single people long to meet the love of their life while their married friends long for the freedom that comes with not having to answer to anyone. Newlyweds long to make babies while parents long for a date night.
Everyone longs for their youth when what matters isn't how much time has passed, but how much time we have left.
It's perfectly fine to want something more, better, or different and to then take action to get it. That's intention, it isn't longing. Longing is the endless daydreaming about what might be or what could have been without doing anything about it.
Barring anything resulting from the permanence of death, if we're not taking action to get what we're longing for, then what are we doing?
Maybe there's something wrong with me, but one of the ways I've learned to appreciate what I have is to imagine losing it - and then longing for it. I don't know why, maybe it's because reality can't usually compete with fantasy, but for some strange reason this seems more powerful than just being thankful.
As it turns out, there's nothing I long for more than what I already have.