A Little Happier: The Days Are Long, But the Years Are Short.

Of everything I’ve ever created, I think my one-minute video The Years Are Short is the thing that resonates most with people.

It’s even more poignant now — my daughter Eliza, the little girl in the story, is seventeen years old! Sunrise, sunset.

Thanks, as always, to my terrific sponsor: Audible.

Audible has more than 180,000 audio-books and spoken-word audio products. Get a free 30-day trial at Audible.com/happier.  Your first book is free!

In fact, for your free book, if you’d like to read more about “the years are short,” you can choose my book The Happiness Project. (Yes, I am the reader for it.)

Want to get in touch? I love hearing from listeners:


Happier listening!

  • Jill D

    Thanks, Gretchen. I needed this after a long day at the vet with my very beloved dog. A very long day, but …

  • Alessia Rubatto

    Gretchen! I don’t know how to thank you!
    This video is so touching and it made me think a lot about the relationship with my mum! <3

    • gretchenrubin

      I’m so happy to hear that it struck a chord with you.

  • Mimi Gregor

    Aw, crap… *wipes away tears with back of hand* I’ve seen this video before, but it never fails to make me cry. Probably because I am all too guilty of wishing away the present in favor of some theoretical future event. We need to keep in mind that the past is only a memory. The future is theoretical. All we really can be sure of having is the Now. And we fritter that away, trying to speed time up to get to something else… and when we get there, we will invariably do the same. Until one day, we run out of future moments, and we regret the time we spent wishing away the present. (The irony — even on our deathbeds, we will probably be mentally present in some other time.) This is all stuff I know… but actually practicing it seems to be another matter. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

  • Evelina Vatzeva

    Such amazing video! My favourite moment is the one at the end with the view under the bridge, where you can see the yellow flags from Christo on the other side!
    The sentence that helps me to stay in now and here is the one from Captain Jack Sparrow (Pirates of the Carribean):

    “If you were waiting for the opportune moment, that was it.”


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  • Nancy

    A recent podcast mentioned this, and I’m glad I finally got to see it. I have triplet boys, and the days were really long sometimes, but the end of active parenthood, like all other phases for us, came quickly as they all left for college on the same day. It reminded me of Katrina Kenison’s 8 minute reading that I highly recommend, “The Gift of an Ordinary Day.” These are lessons that we all need to remember. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olSyCLJU3O0

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