Such a contemplative thing to say:
Perhaps the reason we so often experience happiness only in hindsight, and that any deliberate campaign to achieve it is so misguided, is that it isn’t an obtainable goal in itself but only an after-effect. It’s the consequence of having lived in the way that we’re supposed to—by which I don’t mean ethically correctly but fully, consciously engaged in the business of living. In this respect it resembles averted vision, a phenomenon familiar to backyard astronomers whereby, in order to pick out a very faint star, you have to let your gaze drift casually to the space just next to it; if you look directly at it, it vanishes. And it’s also true, come to think of it, that the only stars we ever see are not the real stars, those blinding cataclysms in the present, but always only the light of the untouchable past.
From Tim Kreider’s We Learn Nothing, pg. 218