On Contentment

In my early 30’s I found myself  in a state of wanting whatever season I was in to be over so I could know how it all turned out. Not a discontentment with where I was so much as a desire to know everything would turn out ok, and if it wasn’t going to, I wanted to go ahead and know that too. It was very healthy, I know. 

As I  became aware of this about myself, I tried to draw some conclusions about why I might be that way. Simply, I think that the memories of events or times in our life often come with the beauty of resolution. Good or bad, we know the outcome and there are fewer unknowns to contemplate. I’ve had to actively allow myself to release the anxiety of wanting this moment to be over, in order to fully appreciate it right now. 

Being in a pandemic it’s really easy to wish away this moment or this year. But, quite honestly, this is the one time that I feel like it makes complete sense. Nonetheless, I’m trying not to wish away this time. I can look back on moments in the last several years, often while traveling or having a good conversation with a friend, when I truly felt calm and peaceful with a sense of  “this is the thing I want to remember – this feeling, in this moment”. Having those times to look back on has been so beneficial to my mental well-being in the now. I’m stressed and anxious, yet also grateful for, what felt like perfect moments. I feel sadness for our current moment, while finding small moments of joy and hope for the future. 

For years I also had a tough time finding contentment in my singleness. I had a job, paid my bills, and no longer lived with my parents, but marriage hadn’t happened which was the thing I was supposed to have reached by then. I realized at some point that my dissatisfaction had to do with shame of not having reached the milestones I’d been raised to believe would signify success. I changed how I viewed my own goals in life, what success would look like for me, and really started trying to live in the current season and enjoy it. And it was a blast. I traveled and I spent time with friends. With no children of my own, I  put that energy into spoiling my best friend from college’s children, my fake nephews, if you will. There are still down times, the ones that come with life, but they stopped correlating to whether or not I reached other people’s goals for my life.

I realized I was fine being single, and my discontentment came from thinking I somehow didn’t deserve that. I realized this season of life, one that may or may not change, gave me opportunities and gifts that I hadn’t stopped to consider before. And, I realized that I needed to stop letting my desire for resolution cause me to wish away the journey.