The key to true second by second life enjoyment is also the key to long term despair. It is a habit that we evolve out of in transition from child to adult. It is what we try to embrace once again in transition from adult to elder.
The key is to not have goals. Goals block our ability to embrace the moment with true unadulterated pleasure and curiosity because they force our mind into a one way tunnel where we can't see the joy in things that pass by because they don't seem to have any relation to us.
Simple example, I meet my girlfriend and I have a goal to have sex. This may not seem to be a goal because of its natural state of necessity, but it is. I see her and all I think of is how to get closer to my goal of sex. Every touch of her hair, and sniff of her skin is made not to simply experience those sensations, they are to bring us closer physically. It doesn't matter what is happening around me, if it doesn't explicitly show how I can get closer to my goal it will be ignored.
I use sex as an example to illustrate how this practice of goal making is so successful that it has been ingrained into our psychological makeup. We differ from other animals simply with the ability to set and complete subjective goals. This ability could very well be the reason we have progressed economically and socially as organically cohesive beings . It could be the reason our brains have evolved into such a form unique from our animal counterparts. But also this could be the reason we no longer smell the roses.
If you have a goal in your head (which we do 100% of the time) it makes it very difficult to enjoy anything that might not be apart of that goal. This can be seen in the most unsuspecting of times. Even while watching a movie, we set and follow goals constantly. Goals, for example, of trying to understand the movie, see where the story is going, etc. In doing this, lots of things go past our eyes and minds because they simply don't fit into where we think our goal is trying to take us. A passive expression. A goofball in the background. Lots of artistic nuances, lots of little touches that don't play a crucial role in our goal's eye go overlooked.
It seems the majority of our daily distress and hardship comes from events that we consider in contrast to our goals. Even listening to someone talk can be a chore if we can't seem to understand the purpose of the conversation. Relationships, in all their forms, only seem to be successful if the partners have the same goals. Even this article is chore to write because I still don't have a concrete goal for it. This habit of goal making is so important to us as humans that we spend our childhood learning how to do this and aren't considered grown up until we do it well.
But every day there are things happening around us constantly that are beautiful and mind mesmerizing, and that go completely unnoticed because our face is stuck in a box. Why are children so easily entertained? Because they don't care about being entertained. They just take whatever comes their way and see it for what it naturally is. Not for what our tunnel-visioned goal-burdened eye wants to see. We need to have goals to make progress in our daily lives, but we can't let them control how we see our daily lives.