I finally learned something about being content. The key to being content is, get this, allowing yourself to be content.
I know, mind blowing, right?
Seriously, for some people this comes easily, but for, I want to say MOST of us, it does not. Especially me. It’s hard for me to be content. I want to constantly strive to be the best version of myself and to always be doing, doing, doing. How can I do more? How much longer can this list be? What classes can I take? How many projects can I start? When will this all pay off?
Going through a breakup forced me to slow down. I had to put multiple projects on hold and prioritize simple things like, eating and fun. It wasn’t by choice–I was knocked off-kilter and had to do everything in my power to stay balanced. It wasn’t easy. And in fact, it really sucked. It felt like everything was in flux. I had to constantly check in with myself and my happiness. I did this more times in 8 weeks than I ever had in my entire life. It was the best kind of focus.
During this time, I felt a newfound love and respect for my job and workplace. It was the only place where nothing changed. It was my only point of stability for weeks. It gave me an excuse to get out of bed, my coworkers were consistently great, and the annoyances of office life never wavered. I have never appreciated my stable, 9-5 job more in my life.
It was after a few weeks of stability at work, really great nights with my friends, and learning to to train my dog that it clicked. I was pretty content with what I had. It was enough to work and play and laugh. It was enough. I could do these things and live a happy life.
Why had it been so hard for me to appreciate what I had? Why was it so hard to just take a step back and say, “This isn’t so bad. Not writing after work was kind of fun. Taking a nap on a Sunday felt great.” I was addicted to the hustle.
I wasn’t addicted to productivity or accomplishment, rather, I was addicted to always trying to do better, to do more, to feel busy, to feel needed. Being addicted to the hustle is the opposite of being productive. I was working to work. Stressing to stress.
I want to say that that’s the old me. That I’ve changed in a couple of weeks. But I can’t, because this journey is still ongoing. I’m still moving, having revelations and breakdowns, and gearing up for more. But what I have accomplished in the past couple of weeks is that I know what it is to feel content, and that is something I want to feel everyday.
Now I find myself delicately dipping my toes back into the waters of all my projects. I am writing again, I am thinking of new clubs and sports to try, I am dreaming to dream. The pressure is off. I can feel balance coming back, I am excited to work again, I am thrilled to try new things. All because I was forced to take care of myself on a visceral level.
The thing I didn’t realize until now is that I have time. And as long as I am working and dreaming but not exhausting myself to death, then, I’m going to be okay. Because now that I’ve learned to appreciate what I have, I can focus on working towards the next great thing in my life.
I’m a little bit more content. I’m a little bit more patient. Not by a lot, but enough to stay in tonight and watch the clouds turn pink from my balcony and give summer a decent goodbye.