Contentment is defined as “a state of happiness and satisfaction”. (Dictionary.com)
At some point during this week, I realized that I was feeling content. It is not a feeling that comes upon me often, so it took me a while to recognize it. But once I did, I decided to sit with it and ruminate on how I got here.
I think for most of my life, I have been striving for something. I was always in a constant state of working toward the next big thing, the next big idea, the next job, the next hobby, etc. And I think I was causing discontent within myself, because I wasn’t achieving what I thought I should be. I wasn’t changing the world, I wasn’t making big waves. I felt like I was stuck in that hamster wheel.
A lot of this is related to my work life. I think that I always felt that I wanted to be making a difference with my work and that if I wasn’t, there was something wrong. I also felt that the general idea of working 40 hours a week, having a weekend and doing it all over again for 40-50 years of my life, just wasn’t going to make me happy. And I have been fighting against that idea most of my adult life.
But this week, I realized that even though I have been fighting that idea of work/weekend, I am still doing it. And weirdly, it is ok. That is where the contentment began.
I took a look at the life I am leading. I have a job that I love and I make a difference in my own small way. I am not out there saving the world all by myself, but I work with great people who are doing that and I am supporting them. And one thing that I am learning each day there, is that small steps in the right direction keep you moving forward. Celebrate the little victories.
At home, I will continue to struggle with not owning my own home, but I have come to realize that right now, I am not ready to own a home. I want to focus on my work and do it well. And when I am at home, I want to spend time with people that I love, I want to cuddle my dog, I want to play and enjoy life. By renting right now, I am allowing myself the time, money and energy to do all of that. I am content to stay here until I feel more ready to take on the burden of home ownership, physically and financially.
And so, I came to realize that I have found a sense of contentment these days. I know it doesn’t mean that I won’t stop learning and won’t stop growing, but it does mean that I have that state of happiness and satisfaction for now.
I also don’t know how I got to this state, so I can’t offer much advice here. I don’t know if the pandemic has just changed my mindset. I don’t know if it is because I finally got to see my parents after a year and a half apart and I realized that they are happy, content people who always just did their work and loved their family. I don’t know if it was making progress with my very skittish dog or realizing the patience she is teaching me.
What I do know is that for the first time in a very long time, I went to bed content and slept well. I woke up and did the hard tasks at work and still felt that content feeling. I felt good. And that doesn’t happen very often. So, I am going to hang onto it as long as I can.
I wish you all some contentment of your own this week!