Living a Content Life

Frank is getting ready to go on a multi-day hike in one of the most beautiful places I know, the Grand Tetons. And, I’m feeling jealousy creep in as the preparations build and the day creeps closer. I want a whole week off of parenting!! When’s it my turn?!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe’re also definitely in the August part of summertime: Playdates are sparser; School is starting soon; The days feel long and creativity levels are low. Bea is asking when school is starting again more than I’m thinking it – we’re ready for routine and autonomy.

We talked about tiredness and time “off.” Frank made the mistake of wondering if I’d be happier working rather than staying home. I AM HAPPY!!!! I fumed. Can’t you tell?!!!

A friend posted about the distinction between being happy and being content. Beyond the happy moments that make up our days and weeks and years, there is a contentedness that permeates our lives. Even in the midst of wishing for more “me” time or more family time, even in the moments when I’m tired and not particularly happy, I am content.

There’s a deeper feeling, a deeper fulfillment in these years that I’m thankful for. If I relied only on happiness, I think we would have given up. It’s not that we’re not happy, but that word leaves so much to be desired.

So, while I’m not necessarily looking forward to parenting alone; while I’m ready for “my turn” at adventure, I’m content in knowing Frank will come home refreshed. I’m excited for a road trip up to a spot that has so much meaning for our family. And I’m happy that we are on this journey together.

What does the word “happy” mean to you? Are you, by nature, a happy person or does the word content resonate more with you?

Linked with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday, a time to write without editing. Today’s prompt is “happy.”

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12 thoughts on “Living a Content Life

  1. Your post pretty much sums up how I feel and think. I often remind myself that I am content. The heart has a big place in how content I feel. When I am over wrought with FOMO, (Fear Of Missing Out) I stop for a few minutes to feel physically the sensations. Checking in with my body most often shifts my feelings because the past and the future are held hostage for a brief time with right now. And right now is most often just fine.

    1. Oh, I like the idea of physically checking in with my body. I just don’t take the time to do that, yet everything is connected… Thanks so much for stopping by!

  2. Praying your time single parenting goes well. Also praying you get some me time soon too. I’m in the 5 spot this week.

  3. Great post, Annie.

    I don’t draw a distinction between content and happy. It’s something that has the potential to exist in nearly any moment, if we’re willing to put aside preconceptions and comparisons with the past, or aspirations for the future.

    Life simply is, and the moment we have is truly all we have.

    #1 at FMF this week.

    https://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2016/08/your-dying-spouse-190-mustard-seed-of.html

  4. Content is often underrated, don’t you think? Wasn’t it Paul who said whatever circumstances I’m in, I’m content? When I’m in a place of sorrow or challenge, I admit, content isn’t the word I’d use to describe it. Nor is happy. I like you’ve pointed to this important word today. It’s a worthy goal to be content.

    1. I guess if Paul can be content in all circumstances, I’ve got nothing to complain about! 😉 But, yes…. It’s not my go-to state of mind, which is something I’d like to shift.

  5. One thought that came to mind as I read your post is that happiness should never be our goal. It’s great that you’re supporting Frank as he gets his dose of adventure. I hope you get yours too. As moms, it’s easy to minimize our need for those things that fill us and make us happy. I think you’re right that there’s a strong connection between contentment and happiness. 🙂

    Great post, my friend!

    1. That’s true – happiness as the goal would be so frustrating.. I know it’ll be “easier” one day to have my own adventures, but you’r absolutely right: I shouldn’t minimize that need, even if it’s not my “turn.” Thanks for your words of wisdom!

  6. Great post Annie. Love how you differentiated contentment and happiness. Even in the miserably unhappy moments we can be content because contentedness comes from a place deeper than whether we get to hike the Grand Tetons or stay home and single parent. It comes from knowing there is something greater than our days on this earth. That there is a future glory after this life.

    1. Thanks, Christy! It’s so true – those moments are fleeting and by next month, the memory of those days of parenting alone will fade. But, our family foundation is what sustains. Thanks for your encouragement!

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