Contentment with Life

One day I picked my head up from the nitty gritty of life, looked around, and thought to myself. ‘This is the life I always wanted. I made it. So why doesn’t it feel like it?’

For many years, when I thought of my ideal like, this is what I thought of. Slow mornings with steaming cups of tea. Pretty lunches I packed every day. A small house that was clean and decorated with things I loved. A view of the mountains I could stare at as I wrote short stories. Friends and family that filled my house with laughter. A job I loved.

And that was the life I made.

Yet it didn’t feel like enough. I was still striving for something more to life. Though at that point I wasn’t even sure what I was striving for. I was caught up in the grind, of forcing my life into the mold I had created. I was used to working hard, to making things the way I wanted because nothing would be handed to me.

To work hard is good. To get up and do the work to make the life you want is good. Until it becomes an end unto itself. I was so used to working hard I forgot what I was working for. I was discontent and striving even though I had already reached the top of what I wanted.

At that moment I could have decided to keep going, to keep working at the same pace because life wasn’t perfect yet. There are still things I want to do, places I want to go. But I didn’t. Instead I decided to slip into the piece of the world I had carved out for myself and enjoy my life. Life was beautiful. It still is beautiful. Not perfect, but lovely in its own right.

This did not mean quitting my job. I did not throw all my commitments out the window. I didn’t spend all my money on the matching living room set. Instead, I luxuriated over my meals. I spent a little more time reading the books I loved. I let go of the tight grip I had on life and let it be life. I allowed myself to be content.

Like I said earlier. Work is good, I thrive on being productive and having things to do. But work is a means to an end. I go to work for a reason beyond the work itself. I workout to become strong and healthy, not just to workout. When the work becomes the end, it will never end. If my entire life is work, it will never reach the point of being enough. If all that hard work means nothing but more hard work, than why am I doing it?

I let go of the habit of striving for something and let myself enjoy the fruits of my labor. Perhaps sometime soon there will be a new goal to work towards. I will have the joy of working towards it and the joy of reaching it.

Until then, I will be here, drinking my tea.

Shaina Merrick