"Do you know the kind of people who allow themselves to be duped into supposing that the good things of life were theirs once, in the past, and will certainly be theirs again, some time in the future; but who look upon the present as merely a dreary waste of time? They constantly use phrases as "before the War," "when I was young," "when Mother was with us," "in the old days"; and spend so much time in wishing and hoping for better luck, a larger income or freedom from worry, that their most precious possession - the present - slips unregarded away. They are victims of the comical belief in "jam yesterday and jam tomorrow, but never jam today."
When a neighbour habitually describes to us in detail all the beauties of the house she was obliged to give up before descending to the type she - and we - are now living: or fondly recalls the ideal enviroment of her childhood, compared to which her present society - including ourselves - is so lamentably inferior - we may be outwardly sympathetic, from politeness. But inwardly we feel either wearied or amused, by this backward looking egotism.
If we are kind, we pity her. If we are learning wisdom - and few of us would claim to be more than learners - we resolve to avoid her example.
Others there are who draw a discreet veil over the humble days of the past, but delight to outline their hopes and plans for the future, and the prosperity they are going to enjoy when their ship comes home. Their present existence is despised as dull and commonplace, quite unworthy of their abilities. So they don't trouble to make the best of things. Neither house nor garden is worth bothering about because it will so soon be left for a better.
Meanwhile those "easily satisfied" folk next door are working away with obvious pride and enjoyment, in precisely the same type of house and garden. But it doesn't look the same because they have made so many improvements and the little garden is gay with flowers.
The "jam-tomorrow" family are going to have a wonderful garden one day, when George gets his promotion. George Junior will attend a more expensive school then and Mrs George will take up golf. She doesn't care for gardening. so she remains apathetic and critical, never staisfied herself and and inclined to look down upon those who are. She is really no worse off than her neighbours, but she cannot see the actual blessings of today for thinking of the imaginary ones of tomorrow.
Nothing is more harmful to the health, whether of body or soul, than the restless, dissatisfied state of mind created by such living in the future; unless it be the futile repining of those who dwell forever in the past.
Let us resolve to appreciate our good things today. No matter how scarce they may seem to be, they will increase amazingly when we give thanks for them. Now is the time. When we begin to realize as well as believe this stupendous fact, there will be little time left for longing or regret."
Lesley Norman, 1919.