“Happiness consists not in having much, but being content with little.” Marguerite Gardiner, Countess of Blessington
When I was young, there was always something I didn’t have that I wanted. And there was never enough of anything. I was sure that I would be happy if only I had whatever it was that I didn’t have. Needless to say, I always wanted more of what I had, and there was always something I didn’t have that I wanted. I was never happy.
What a waste of time.
Now that I am older, I realize that having what I need is a gift and not having what I want isn’t all that important. Learning this little bit of wisdom made happiness happen. Oh, I still dream about things I would like to have but not having them is no longer a nightmare.
Contentment is accepting the world as an imperfect place. Anonymous
I wasn’t always content, far from it. There was more to my discontent than the usual stuff of being a teenager, and it got worse with time. As a young woman and into middle age, I was unhappy most of the time. It just became the norm for me.
Somewhere around 50 years, I got tired of the life I was living. I decided to make some changes, but I didn’t know quite what they would be. So, for a time, I went to a psychologist. Best thing I ever did!
I learned a lot about myself and how I looked at life and living. The biggest thing I learned was how often I said or thought, “I should.” Why did I think “I should” do something or be something, feel or want to be different in some way? I was always trying to be who or what I thought others expected or wanted me to be. The whole experience of being in counseling was eye-opening. It was difficult, and it hurt. There were lots of tears. Oh, and there was laughter, too. I’m a pretty funny person. I thought that was a bad thing. There wasn’t a lot of laughter in our house when I was growing up.
Anyway, when I came to my 50th birthday, I decided I would be who I am. I would just be me, whoever and whatever that was. I likened it to being a butterfly. I was leaving the cocoon and would be the real me. Another best thing I ever did!
Do you know what I found out when I left the cocoon? I am a curious, daydreaming, intelligent introvert with a good sense of humor. Some people like me, some don’t, and that’s okay.
The most important lesson I learned is that I don’t have to be what others want me to be or who they think I ought to be. I am who I am, the good, the bad, and the sometimes ugly. Deal with it or go and bother somebody else with your idealistic nonsense.
Oh, by the way on my 50th birthday, I got a tattoo. It’s a butterfly just out of the cocoon and beginning to fly.
When I was wondering what to chat about I got to thinking about being content.
The reason this is on my mind is because I was not content last night
and I woke up this morning in the same ugly mood. This is not my usual state.
I was in this mood because I had an appointment this morning
that I did not want to go to.
Because of my snotty state I cancelled the appointment and stayed home.
Now I have to reschedule the appointment.
This has not improved my mood.
I was unhappy with what was and now unhappy with what will be.
Socrates said it best
“He who is not contented with what he has,
would not be contented with what he would like to have.”
As I reflect on last year my first thoughts are that it was just another year. No mountain tops and no deep pits. No real forward motion but no slipping back, just holding steady. The only thing that stands out is the death of my cat. Other than that there is nothing about 2010 that had any lasting impression on me.
But with further thought I realize I am more content and at peace with the world and myself than ever before. That alone makes last year one worth keeping in a treasure chest marked “Remember”.
Being content and at peace with the world and self does not come with trumpets and parades and loud hurrahs. It slips in quietly, unnoticed and unheralded, and takes up residence without a fuss.
How awesome is that?!
I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions but if I did I would resolve to more readily recognize the grace of contentment and peace that blesses my life.
Who, on earth, knows what 2011 will bring? What I do know is that I will keep my “Remember” treasure chest close at hand. And I will keep my heart open to all the grace and blessings of contentment and peace that is yet to be revealed .