It’s been a challenging week for sure. I came down with a bad cold that sort of knocked me off my feet. Except, when you’re an adult and have children, you don’t have the option to be down very long. But after as much rest as I could possibly manage, I’m beginning to feel like my normal spunky self again…so I thought I’d jump on here quickly before the NyQuil kicks in (lol).
One thing that has increasingly been on my mind lately is CONTENTMENT.
Contentment is a mental or emotional state of satisfaction maybe drawn from being at ease in one’s situation, body and mind.
I used to primarily associate the idea of being content with material things. If a person is content, they’re less inclined to fill their lives with endless material things. That statement certainly carries some weight. However, I’ve come to realize contentment in more than a few areas of my life and it has brought me a great deal of peace. I no longer feel the need to be surrounded by people to fill any sort of void or uncomfortableness with being “alone”. I’m content with what I have to offer myself in the way of self love and encouragement; no longer yearning for affirmation in one way or another from others. I’m content with just trying my best each day and having faith in what my life has in store without constantly living for the next moment.
Our society thrives off of flaunting their accomplishments, and with the help of social media, provides many outlets on which to do so. While that may serve as motivation to some, I’m learning the beauty in doing things a little quieter in life and how much satisfaction comes from recognizing areas of personal growth (even if those thoughts never leave my mind or heart).
And on that note, here’s a picture of me and my two biggest sources of contentment (and happiness) in life:
Winter Wonderland ~ Bridal Veil Falls, March 2017
I usually post a quote on Thoughtful Thursday. Today, however, I feel compelled to write about a story I found on Long Reads. It was not only thought provoking, but heart wrenching and although terribly sad, inspiring to read such stories of courage from young ones. I have children of my own, as you may know, so this hit me especially hard and sparked a range of emotions. It was an interview the New York Times did of 18 young girl’s who were captured by Boko Haram in Nigeria and forced to be suicide bombers. I won’t begin to try and summarize the article, but will link it below:
New York Times Article
It is easy at times (at least for myself, as I lead a very busy life and rarely have time to even watch the news) to “forget” that there are other’s in the world whose worries far exceed our own. Those who on a regular basis are afraid for their lives, their children’s lives, and have endured things so horrific that just our reading about them is enough to make our stomach churn. Although I try for the most part to write about positive, uplifting things, I believe it is good at times to receive a healthy dose of “reality”. This article served as just that to me. A reminder to count my blessings on a daily basis, and practice gratitude for my current circumstances and those of my children.
Just last night I had a phone conversation with my friend about perspective (which tends to be a theme in my writing). She was telling me about a friend of hers who has battled cancer for 13 years and how watching her struggle from afar and observing her positive attitude serves as her own sort of attitude readjustment at times. Granted, much of life is “relative”. We gauge a “bad” day off of a “normal” day to us. Well, our normal is certainly not everyone’s normal. Taking a step back, however, can help us see the bigger picture and allow us, if only minimally, to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. To practice, along with gratitude, empathy.
I hope you get time to read the article, and if not, then I hope at least this post has made you think about something in your life that can incite a thankful heart. If you have read any articles recently that you’ve found especially moving, please share in the comments below.
Happy (almost) Friday, all!
Living a colorful life ~ Love On Haight, San Francisco California
I love this, because although it would be pretty difficult for us to never think anything negative again, it is so very true that our thoughts are everything when it comes to the life we live and the life we want for ourselves moving forward. They control our actions, our energy, our overall mental well being. And the more positive our thoughts, the more we are able to help those around us (especially if we have children). Moving into the last couple months of the year, I hope to put this into practice a little more every day, every week.
Happy Thursday all, make it a good one!
I slowly placed the lid over the top of the candle on the nightstand. As I sat back on the bed with tears streaming down my face, I watched as the flame flickered out. It felt oddly symbolic. Just five days before my 31st birthday, I was once again reminded of the weight of being an adult. Having to make decisions that hurt so bad in the moment, but the mature you knowing deep down it was right; right for future you, right for your children. So I took a deep breath and I let go. Physically, I let the tears go. Mentally and emotionally I freed myself of what was, what could’ve been, and I remembered this: there is never a better time to start anew than the present. So I closed my eyes and awaited the sunrise. The first sunrise of the rest of my life.
“Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that’s the one that is going to help you grow” ~ Caroline Moss
This isn’t going to flow or be cohesive by any means. I know this the second my fingers hit the keys. But the irony in that is this: neither is real life. It doesn’t always make sense. There’s not even always a moral to the story. That truth, however, doesn’t make life any less beautiful or exhilarating, or all of the adjectives I could use to describe what I’ve come to appreciate about life this year.
It is now the end of July. I’ve accomplished very little of the tangible goals I set out for the year. BUT MY HAVE I LEARNED. I wouldn’t be able to measure what this year so far has proven to be for me. At thirty years old, after a failed marriage, two children, great losses, and an almost constant state of transition for a period of three years…I can actually say everything has worked out beyond what I could have imagined. At a certain point I really, truly let go of expectations, regrets, and my concern over matters that were never within my control in the first place. I literally just decided to be at peace and to try my hardest to make only decisions that would contribute to that peace and to my overall growth. To be unafraid to remove myself from situations (relationships included) that compromised that goal. And so, slowly, I began to purge.
I have watched my love and patience for my children (and myself as well) grow immensely. The confidence I possess in my own strength and abilities has also matured greatly. The small details don’t concern me anymore and I realize that no matter how things play out, they will always work one way or another.
There’s a sort of shame that comes along with evolving. Many people are complacent and may not understand when you make conscious decisions to change your life, especially if the direction you are heading doesn’t suit them. But honestly, the thought of losing others to gain myself no longer scares me or influences me. It is a part of life to grow past people and habits; a necessary one. This process involves a great deal of growing pains, but is well worth it in the end.
These words hit home with me when I read them:
“When it feels scary to jump, that’s exactly when you jump.
Otherwise you end up staying in the same place your whole life.
And that I can’t do.”
(The look of absolute contentment ~ July 21, 2017)