“Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy” Unknown
Hindsight is 20/20 was coined by humorist Richard Armour back in 1949. Thinking about events after they have already happened seems poetic and mildly eerie as much has transpired in world since I started this blog on March 2. As I complete this piece of prose, my thoughts of a few weeks ago are now tangled in the realism of today.
I believe that everything happens for a reason. Good, bad or not that important to even register, you just never know what a day has in store for you when you raise your head off your pillow. When I began writing this blog it was a declaration to a random encounter back in November that subsequently set in motion a series of events that changed my expectations and view of my future. However, today I can’t shake the feeling that my mindset had a larger message to receive.
We are all responsible for our own inner happiness, peace and destiny. We are responsible for the energy we bring to the metaphoric table on a daily basis. Other people can either add to that value or diminish it greatly. We choose how the world and its citizens effect our being. As we wake each day to our new reality of self-containment, who knew that the luxury of blaming another for your inner happiness, would be removed by a government declaration? The state of satisfaction is all on the man in mirror.
If you scan your desk top thesaurus in search of synonyms for achievement, you will find words like victory, triumph, and accomplishment. But, should the word contentment be considered as a state to achieve? Trust me I have had my fair share of times, ask my kids, that all I desired was a moment of peace. But being content always seemed like a “cop out” of setting goals and looking to advance forward. The past four months has taught me a very special lesson, that feeling content is marvelous. And I can honestly say the 52 years before the words “I am content” came out of my mouth, I would never have guessed that it was something I wanted to achieve. And the odd part was that it didn’t hit me like an emotion, it was more like a very quiet, almost still “aha” moment, that came out of my mouth to end a sentence. “I am content”.
What has contentment meant to me. It has been a giant pause, that has helped me clear my head. I went from being distracted, to knowing exactly where my priorities lie. It took the fearfulness of the unknown of my future and shifted to an excitement of resetting life again. There is no FOMO in the land of contentment, nor do you think there is something better waiting out there for you to grab.
I recently stumbled across the book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, by Richard Carlson among my belongings. Instead of throwing it in the box for the neighborhood donation store, I took it to the office. It sits on my desk. Every day (well the ones I remember) I randomly open to a page and read it, then I date it with a sticky note (so not to duplicate) and take the words to heart. Ironically, today’s topic was titled “Let Go of the Idea the Gentle, Relaxed People Can’t Be Superachievers.” There it was the validation to months of pondering if being content was a good thing. It doesn’t mean I am lazy, or settling, no it actually is a testament to growing to place that fear doesn’t get to live.
For the past couple weeks, we as a society have been knocked out of our comfort zone. From the media information storm, to new ways of adapting socially, to figuring out work and home environments, it is a lesson that has crossed all social and economic demographics. It is like God is singing the lyrics of a Taylor Swift song to the world, “You need to calm down, you’re being too loud”. Quieting down has been a process the past few weeks, but here are a few take-aways that have helped my mind set.
1 – Develop a routine for your new normal. If you are working at home, still prepare yourself to go to the “office”. Keeping my mornings as close to normal has really helped me stay productive.
2 – Here comes the sun. Sitting outside or better yet going for a walk around the neighborhood helps subside the noise in the world. I continue to try to get my 10,000 daily steps, feeling accomplished and exercised is a double check in the win column.
3 – Enjoy the process of the activities you are doing. If you find yourself cooking more (I know I have) don’t rush, try new recipes, relish in the simple experiences.
4 – Connect with people. Yes we can’t go out and about, but we can still bond with others. Use this time to check in with an old college pal, a former co-worker, family members that you haven’t seen in months, people grow among others. Take this time to catch up with all the folks that you never get around to touching base.
5 – Lastly use your extra time at home to tackle a big chore. Maybe it is reorganizing the cupboards or sorting all the boxes of photos, who knows, but once you do this you will feel so accomplished.
Looking back over the past few months, isn’t it odd that being content has actually conditioned me for what lied ahead. Who knows what the next 30 days will bring. But, as we all start to unruffle our feathers and be still in our own space, I wouldn’t be surprised if contentment became a measurable goal in 2020.