If I am honest, contentment is something that I struggle with. Growing up I was an absolute dreamer. I loved to lie in bed and daydream about what my life would look like. I loved to fall asleep fantasizing about all the different jobs I may have, or the travels I would go on.
As I grew into adulthood, it became more and more evident that some of these dreams would need to pivot.
Isn’t that the epitome of adulthood though? Constantly changing plans, dreams, and expectations?
Whether it’s the desire to keep up with the elusive “Joneses”, to have a Pinterest-perfect house, create Instagram-worthy meals, or to giggle as hard as couples on Tiktok. If it’s not those desires, it’s the dreams and expectations I have created for my life that have not come to fruition or drastically changed. Contentment always seems to be just out of reach.
Often finding contentment can be so hard as humans who are constantly evolving and growing. We are always looking for and forward to the next thing. And that in itself is beautiful, if it were not for humanity’s constant hunt for greatness, think of all the inventions and creative moments we would be missing out on. However, I personally struggle with the idea that I need to always be growing and bettering myself (or my home). It definitely makes it harder to enjoy the moment I am in without needing to also think of what I can be doing better.
I do, however, deeply believe that half the battle for each of us finding our contentment is unpacking what we as individuals are not content with? It may look different for each individual. It may be the death of a dream, or the change of an expectation. It may be a desire to have something that someone else has. Beginning to reframe our values about what we actually hold as important in our life, taking stock of what we already have and orienting our contentment around what we already have, is definitely a great first step. For example, why do I only value and celebrate the tangible career defining moments versus the countless meaningful relationships I have built over the years. Are those not also to be celebrated and found contentment in?
So, what then am I doing right now to practice contentment? Today, I am learning to choose joy in the hard moments. I am learning to be thankful amidst the hard moments. One practice, my husband and I do in our marriage, especially on hard days (which lets be honest are more often than not) is to take time to list what we are grateful for. It sounds so little and simplistic, but it has been such a good reframe on the days when everything feels like it’s falling apart. A simple reminder to help us remember the beauty in our lives. A reminder to count the moments where we had the opportunity to show love or were loved on, to count it all as important. To delight in it all, no matter how large or insignificant it may seem.
I surely don’t want to be someone who ever stops dreaming my child like dreams, but I also want to be someone who is grateful for the little things in my life, and is not always striving for the next big thing.