My New Year’s Post

Last night Husband and I rang in the New Year in our living room with a pot and a wooden spoon and a little bit of yelling. We canceled our dinner reservations, declined to walk the five minutes to the lake shore that would let us see fireworks downtown, and forgot to pull out the sparklers. [We have a stockpile of sparklers we bought for the wedding and forgot to use then, too.] We didn’t call or text our friends or families. We did kiss. And then we watched MTV for another 30 minutes or so, washed the dishes from our ghetto stove-top fondue dinner, and brushed our teeth. For the first time in years and years I felt no pressure to be anywhere other than exactly where I was.

A New Year’s Eve habit of mine is to spend some time writing and reflecting before I go to sleep. Last night, I focused on the idea of contentment. I think 2010 is the year I learned I don’t want to be content. Or, at least, that I should stop striving for it.

Contentment has always been a big thing for me. Early in our relationship I struggled to describe the complete happiness I felt around Husband and I told him I felt content and asked if he felt the same. Very early in the relationship. He still makes fun of me for it, I guess because it was a weird thing to say one or two weeks in.

This year I found myself living a life of near contentment. I graduated from school and got a job, leaving behind the uncertain life of a graduate student. I earned money doing work that made me proud for the first time ever. I married to the man I’ve yearned to call husband for years. I moved to an apartment where I will stay for more than nine months in a city I can call home. I made progress reconciling my faith with my ambivalence toward Mormon culture. And yet, a few days ago, as I was driving down the US 60 toward my parents’ house in Arizona, I broke down and confessed to Husband how I envy the lives of my siblings and neighbors and friends in other states and their easy happiness. He reminded me that no one’s happiness is easy. And I realized that I shouldn’t expect mine to be, that happiness doesn’t follow financial or physical health, finding a home, or fitting in. It doesn’t follow ease of mind or satisfaction. It exists independently of contentment. Everybody knows this, but it took finally stumbling into a content life for me to realize it.

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1 Response to My New Year’s Post

  1. Pingback: Chivalry In Its Many Forms | Bending the Rules

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