Today is my birthday. I am turning 43. As my eldest daughter said to me in her birthday card: "43 is not too old, yet." I think that sums it perfectly, don’t you? Like old age is coming, Mum, so enjoy it while you can. This makes me picture a freight train that I can hear, but not see.
This morning I met with a very dear friend, a fellow Libran, also turning 43 in a few days time. We got chatting, as good friends do. And, after a gentle movement through the terrain of life, we hit on a beauty: contentment.
You think after 43 years I should have learnt how to be content, don’t you? Well, sometimes, yes, but not always the case and not in all areas of my life. The ‘what if’ question strikes me on a regular basis. After moving numerous times growing up - about 20 houses and 5 schools - I know a thing or two about change. And, you would think that should cure me for life. I should want to stay put, dig in my roots in and nest over my house. But, no, sadly that hasn’t been the case.
Since my husband (who barely moved before we met) and I got together 19 years ago, we have moved numerous - too many - times. Eventually, sadly perhaps, he cottoned on to my pattern of moving and made sure we bought a house that was set up to house our family for a very long time. Of course, I didn’t see it (the trap) coming, and just happily, albeit stressfully moved into our current house.
Six years later (my record in any house), I am itching to move again. Not because there is something wrong with our house, the area we live, our neighbours – it's all great. It’s just my pattern, wanting to play out. But, no one else in my family has my pattern, thank goodness (thanks to my sensible husband), and no one else wants to move, unless it's to a house by the sea or to a farm with horses. I’ve suggested everything: downsizing, side sizing, building, but no takers. I know I could put my foot down, but that wouldn't be fair to the majority, now would it?! I am stuck. And, I know it’s for the best. But, still.
So, as my friend and I chatted today about contentment, it struck a cord. I want to be content. I imagine most people do. To be content sounds like a wonderful thing. To be at peace and happy with what you are doing, where you like, who you are, at all times. Brilliant. Sign me up!
If only it were that easy. But, perhaps it doesn’t need to be too hard either. Maybe it’s just about saying, you know what, I am going to fully inhabit the life that I have right now. I am going to accept that it may not be perfect, but, it’s my life and I need to live it, every day, the best that I can. To be grateful.
Being content doesn’t mean there won’t change in the future. It doesn’t mean we will become stagnant. It doesn’t mean we will never move again (hopefully). But, it does mean that I need to accept and be happy in this life that I am lucky enough to have. To enjoy this day. This moment.
I know, I am sounding rather zen, but it’s my birthday, so humour me.
I wish you much contentment, as I strive, more ardently, than ever before, for mine.
About Upside Down Chocolate Cake
I am a passionate advocate to help children to not just learn how to read, but to become frequent readers, who have forged a life-long connection with books. In this blog, you will also find helpful, practical advice for parents to help support them in their families reading journey.