I have loved reading the posts in Momalom’s epic Five for Ten tour around the blogosphere. I have felt truly inspired and feel like I’ve actually learned while reading some of the gripping stories that have been shared.
Ever since this happiness topic was up for consideration, I’ve been well, considering it, a lot. I read a post yesterday on the blog Shameless Agitator and it really struck a chord within me. She wrote about one of her favorite sayings which is….
“Happiness is overrated. Strive for contentment.”
That works for me, you know? I would definitely call myself a happy person, but even more than that? I am realizing that I am content. And I am beginning to believe that within contentment is where happiness lives.
Our culture and our nature pushes us constantly towards thinking we can achieve one glorious version of happiness. From as early as I can remember, I feel like life has been structured with endless goals that have been designed to eventually all add up to that single vision of happiness and one day, I will finally end up collapsing into that big fluffy chair of happiness.
Earning good grades, scoring a goal on the soccer field, having a boyfriend, getting a part in a play, winning a track race, wearing nice clothes, graduating from college, finding a job, traveling, getting married, renting a nice place to live, buying a home, having children, not having debt, buying nice furniture, making sure all of the laundry is put away in drawers…..the list goes on and on and on and on and on. Ad infinitum. Always reaching for the end of something so I can stop and say, “Whew!!! Now? I’m happy!! Task accomplished. Happiness surging through my veins. Hooray!”
And this aspect of happiness seeking is what has been one of the hardest things for me when it comes to becoming a mother. There really never is an end in sight when it comes to raising my kids. There isn’t one sign that tells me that I’ve accomplished the task. I can never really relax back into that chair of fluffy happiness and proclaim, “I’m done. I did it. I’m happy.”
I am learning the art of jumping into looking around and seeing the chaos and the mess and letting contentment surge through my veins. Contentment that I am living and doing and making mistakes and learning and stumbling and tripping and getting up again. Contentment in seeing that in the literal mess that lies scattered around my home there are living, breathing souls that were created in love and partnership with a soul mate of man that I was lucky enough to marry. Contentment in realizing the mess never really ends. It just takes on different shapes along the way.
But oh man, trying to harness the happiness that lives within contentment takes a keen eye, a strong spirit and a lot of damn hard work.
But I’m getting better at it. I think.
But let’s say there really was one final destination of happiness. A fluffy comfy chair, the end of the road, a ocean view room, a big vat of happy happy. What would be in that vat for me?
A huge flowering bush of jasmine, flip-flops, beach sand, an orange convertible Kharman Ghia, some Dave Matthews and Chris Cornell tunes, a starry sky, a warm desert night, three cool kids and one gorgeous loving man. Yep, that is what is in my one big vat of happiness.
And uh, hey. I’ve got all of that.
Yep, I’m happy. But more than that, I am content.