Contentment. Why is it so hard to hold onto?

I’ll be honest. Even though I waited and waited to become a real Peace Corps volunteer (19 months in total) just about as soon as it became official, I was ready to check it off the old life list and think and talk and dream and plan about the next step. Where will we travel after we’re done with our service? Where will we live when we return to the States? What jobs will we have? When will we start a family?

White Flower

I don’t think all these things in fear of not yet having the answer, but out of excitement for the future! Let’s dream and plan and imagine what could be! And when I realize what I am doing (or more likely when Isaiah points it out to me) I like to choose between these two excuses: a) It’s responsible to have a plan, or b) I’m just dreaming because it’s fun. It doesn’t hurt anyone, does it?

But maybe it does. Maybe it sucks me right out of Yuty, Paraguay and puts me in a nice, spacious, clean-lined and clutter-free house with a spectacular patio and huge windows that showcase the beautiful open land on one side, cozily tucked in a cluster of trees on the other as our two perfectly behaved children recite their ABCs in Spanish. (Oops, am I doing it again?)

Purple Flower

Can I blame it on my generation being so over-stimulated that we actually have to teach ourselves how to do just one task at a time? And it’s a difficult lesson to learn since multi-tasking used to be (still is?) the gold star in the look-how-busy-I-am-but-can-still-manage-it-all showdown.

Yuty, Paraguay Sunset

When I dream of my ideal life (that’s still allowed, right?) I imagine, more than anything, complete contentment. But how do I hold onto contentment without toeing the line of complacency? How do I hold myself back from getting more excited about what will happen tomorrow than what could be happening today?

Ok, nope. Those aren’t rhetorical questions. Although I am happy and overall feeling content in Paraguay, I struggle with these questions. So who has the neat and tidy answers for me? Lay ’em on me and help a brother out.


10 thoughts on “Contentment

  1. When you find neat and tidy answers for those questions pass them on! When we were trying to figure out whether or not to move back to Goshen Dr. Seuss’ “Oh The Places You’ll Go” was what triggered us to make the jump. I was reading it to Ian and the answer just hit me. So my neat and tidy answer is trust the Doctor and read some Seuss.

  2. I think it’s always a challenge to enjoy the moment while also looking to the future for something ‘better.’ There are lots of writings (books, articles, poems) out there by folks who are working with the same kinds of issues. Thanks for sharing your thoughts too!

  3. No neat and tidy answers, that’s for sure! We’re still pondering those questions, at ages 80 (Willard’s recent birthday) and 78. But the questions are so right. Much better to be aware and considering them, than to be unaware. Blessings to both of you, Alice Roth

  4. Usually, I wallow in the past, because I’m terrified of the future (and probably the present as well). But, from time to time, I have been consumed by my dreams and plans. Staying in the here and now is hard, no doubt about it.

    All I can say about having kids and all that is, whatever you’re expecting, it won’t be that! And you can still live a crazy, free life with little ones underfoot.

    So, I guess, for now my advice to you is to learn the lessons that your current situation has to teach you. Take in all you can, from it. Because you will use the lessons and experiences, in the future, to create a life that’s uniquely yours–forget following that script that everyone else is so attached to! 😉

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