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Posts Tagged ‘contentment’

Lately I have been spending altogether too much time thinking about all of the things I wish I could change about myself. Not necessarily physical things (although there are a few of those) but mostly “inside” things.

I’ve been thinking that if I had a magic wand, I would wish to be more patient, less likely to hurry everyone through life. I would wish to be the kind of person who encouraged my kids to try to tie their own shoes even though it takes three times as long and we’re already late.

I wish I was one of those people who exudes friendly; someone who welcomes everyone in, friends, acquaintances, strangers. Everyone.

I wish I was less critical, less likely to find fault and more likely to point out the positive. ‎I’ve always snickered at people who spend all their time on the bright side, it seemed like such a boring place to be. But maybe they’ve figured out something I haven’t? After all, they do seem to smile a lot more than I do.

I wish I spoke more softly, laughed more softly, expressed my opinions more softly. I always seem to be so loud, inside my head and out there in the world.

And because I don’t have a magic wand, and I can’t just wave it around in the air and “poof” become the person I think I’m supposed to be, I’ve been trying to change the old fashioned way. I’ve been taking deep breaths and biting my lips. I’ve choked back the “we’re running lates” and the “did you see what she’s wearings” and put a smile on my face even when I didn’t feel at all like smiling.

I thought if I tried hard enough I could turn into her. Her, that woman over there, the one who seems to have it all together and figured out. Her, the woman who seems so happy.

Until I realized that if I get rid of all of those things, I don’t know who that woman is anymore. The things I don’t like about myself are just as much a part of me as the things I do. They’re all pieces of the same puzzle, and without them the picture doesn’t make any sense.

So I have slowly come to the understanding that improving doesn’t always mean changing. Rather, maybe it just means softening the sharp corners, turning the volume down one notch but not the whole way, smiling extra big when I feel like it but still letting a frown slip in when I’m feeling broken. ‎Maybe improvement is done in small degrees, not broad strokes.

Because no matter how hard I try, I don’t know how to be her.

I just know how to be me.

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windows down

windows down

The other nights are about schedules and lists and chores to be done.

The other nights are about lunches to be packed, feet to be washed, clothes to be folded.

The other nights are about neat and tidy, lined up straight, spic and span.

Night after night after night.

But not this night.

This night is about rolling the windows down and turning up the radio.

This night is about taking the long way home so we can listen to just one more song.

This night is about playing drums on the side of the car, hands out the window, wind in our hair.

This night is about singing off key; as loud as we possibly can.

This night is about pulling over to the side of the road just to enjoy the pink sun dipping down behind the trees.

This night is about pajamas that don’t match.

This night is about bypassing the fruit and having ice cream before bed.

This night is about forgetting about those other nights.

Because there will be lots of time for those other nights; but very little time for nights like this.

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For the past year I have been struggling to find a new path. Well, if I’m being totally honest, it’s probably been more like the last three or four years. I have felt lost, uncertain, professionally unchallenged and creatively unfulfilled.

I bought into the idea that if I’m not growing then I’m just withering; if I’m not striving for something, then I’m just standing still. And for some reason I have convinced myself that standing still is a bad thing. Standing still means I’m wasting time, doing nothing instead of doing something, anything other than what I’m doing right now. Standing still means I’m not moving forward which, I had grown to believe, is just as bad as moving backwards.

I have read dozens of books about finding your passion, finding your calling, finding the right path. I have read stories of people who claimed to be fulfilled, shook my head at their seemingly simplistic advice – follow your heart, live your dreams, listen to your own voice.

I’ve spent the last few years listening, I promise. I just don’t hear anything.

This journey to find a journey has been exhausting, which is kind of ironic considering my journey hasn’t actually taken me anywhere. I have grown frustrated. My search for fulfillment has left me feeling anything but.

And then suddenly, a few weeks ago, something funny happened. I stopped spending all of my time looking, and instead started seeing. I stopped constantly searching, and instead discovered that perhaps I already found what I’ve been looking so hard for.

I have been so afraid that if I stop and take a moment to just accept where I am that it will mean that I’ve resigned myself, given in, given up on the idea of a life different than this one. But slowly, day by day, the idea of acceptance began to grow and it began to lose its negative connotation. I loosened my grip on the perfection that only comes through change and instead started to contemplate contentment.

What if I could accept being content not as a consolation prize but as the goal I’ve actually been searching for all along?

Even just saying the word ‘content’ started to make me relax. It seems so easy; accepting and finding fulfillment with what I already have, rather than constantly feeling the need for more.

More.

More experiences, more places, more people, more things. More. Always feeling like I’m falling short, coming up empty when really everything is already so full. What if instead of getting ‘more’ I could realize and accept when it is ‘enough.’

I saw a quote once that said, to paraphrase, “I do enough, I have enough, I am enough” and lately it has become my mantra. Enough. The word now whispers in my head like a sigh. It brings everything down a notch and gives me a minute to focus.

I am enough.

I am open to change and the new adventures that come, but what I have experienced is enough. Enough for now.

I will continue to learn and grow but I will also be content that the knowledge and wisdom I have already found is enough. Enough for now.

There will be time for more, but right now there is enough.

And I am content with that.

Finally.

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