My main life goal for the past 20 years has been to die without regrets. When I come to the end of the line I don’t want to be mourning something I did do or didn’t do. Pretty much every decision I’ve made since then can be filed under the “I will die without regrets” heading.
I have had, in that time, to overcome one very large regret.
I spent most of the decade of my 20s, and a couple years into my 30s, letting the present rush by in a haze while I always focused on the next thing coming. I married young, so I wasn’t telling myself life would be better “once I got a man.” But I did have a sort of Rosary Of Nexts on which I’d click of beads of desire. I told myself, I told my husband, I told God that everything would be fine “once”. Once: I had a house, a dog, a better job, a better car, a baby, a promotion, a hammock, a nicer tv, a better microwave. Everything I did became leapfrogged for the next thing, because whenever I got a “Once” item that bead fell off the string and was usually replaced by another bead. Or two. Because as soon as I got a Once item, I realised that the key to my happiness hadn’t been the house or the dog or the better job. Surely it must be the baby or the piano!
I’m so grateful that God dragged me kicking and screaming through those valleys in my early 30s. Because as horrible as those times were I learned one solid truth: the greatest gift you can give yourself is contentment. Being happy with what you have, being thankful with who you are and where you are at and the people in your life right now makes for a lot sunnier a life.
I still don’t have the baby, and I most likely won’t. I have some of the Onces and some of the others I either tired of or gave up along the way. But I wish I had the words to describe the peace of living in contentment with where I am right now. I wish I could explain what it is to watch your husband come home from work, kiss you lovingly and toss a hedgehog for the dog and know deep down that all is right in the midst of the little wrongnesses. I could list the imperfections that skulk around the borders of my life like drooling zombies, ready to eat the part of my brain that understands the peace. There are a lot of those gloom zombies out there. But that’s not the point. The point is that being content means that I can stop and look out the window at the grass drinking in the rain and think “what a peaceful morning!” instead of “how awful…I hope it’s sunny tomorrow.”
My thoughts are very disjointed right now, and I feel like my writing shows it. The drugs and the night of little sleep make this post a sort of brainpuddle, I know. But I am just so hoping that I can encourage you–yes, you–to find contentment because I promise it makes every day a blessing instead of a muddy stepsone forgotten in the ceaseless trampling toward a tomorrow that never gets here.