In a world where everything is a trade-off is there any wonder why so many are discontent? Feeling rather discontent myself I thought I’d spare a moment to consider the contents of discontentment… both in culture, and in me.
Should I do this job or that? Live here or there? Be social or study? Spend money or save? Exercise or be lazy? Eat fruit or chocolate? Date this guy or hope for that one?
A month ago I felt completely content. I remember writing a diary entry in my head: about how much I loved Sydney, how lucky I was to be living in a massive room in a funky converted warehouse space with a bunch of caring and creative people. I felt like my roots had been revived now that I was surrounded by family, friends, and community. I felt fit, healthy, connected. I was waiting to hear back from the literary agent that has the final draft of my travel memoir (did mention I’d finished it?!) Everything that was going right in my life. It was going so right that I didn’t need to write about it.
Well today, as I mentioned already, I’ve been feeling the opposite: “I can’t get no… satisfaction…” Writing is my therapy so it’s when things aren’t going so great that I tend to share. So, if you are still reading you may be wondering: what are the contents of my discontent?
I blame two things: the perpetual trade-off and the non-stop ticking of time. We want to experience everything we can in our lifetime, but experiencing one thing often involves missing out on another.
In Nicaragua I had everything I wanted, except the deep feeling of connection that comes with time. I had many friends, but they and I were in-transit. It takes time to develop the connections I craved. In Sydney I got the latter, but lost the Latino lifestyle I love so much.
In Hickory I had lots of time to delve into philosophy, and work on projects that excite me, but I craved the social scene that comes with larger cities. In Sydney again I have the latter, too much of the latter, and not enough of the former.
Limited time with too much choice and a dash of impatience is a recipe for dissatisfaction. The grass is always greener. We want what we can’t have. And when we get what we want, up appears a new desire. While dissatisfaction and discontentment can be motivators for change, they can also cause feelings of being overwhelmed, and as a result, inaction.
On a more positive note I’m reminded of the contents of a mythological box. Amongst the contents of discontentment is that little thing Pandora left us with: hope. Riding the wave of hope we are reminded of the pattern: discontent today, content tomorrow..
So maybe soon I’ll be writing (even if in my head) about the “content of contentment”… which for me I predict will include being happy in a new job (starts late April), a book nearing to publishing, a slightly more boring social life (which will come with winter anyway), a PhD a step closer to completion and a hot water bottle 😉
The paradox in this moment is I want nothing more than for time to slow down, and at the same time I just want to be there already!
Picture: from Pandora’s Box Legends. Fantasy Wallpapers