Thursday, January 7, 2010


Awhile ago Jz asked about what people would want to do if they had the resources - both time and money, but I think primarily, the freedom from responsibility. I respond to this type of question differently from most people I think. I have actually thought about this quirk of myself occasionally in the past and wondered if it's is a good thing or not. I responded to her question that I am content, and that is along the lines of what my response is to any sort of "if you could", "if you won the lottery" or "when the kids are grown and we are retired" sorts of questions. Depending on my mood, I see this as either a healthy living in the present and contentment with who I am, or as an unimaginative lack of dreams or goals. I have given it enough deep thought to know that whether it's a good character trait or a character flaw, I really can't change it.

Growing up I didn't make christmas wish lists or that kind of thing; there wasn't much point in wanting things in general that just weren't possible. But I don't feel that this trait is some sort of unhealthy, learned helplessness or coping mechanisms. On the other hand, it's also certainly not an altruistic, self-actualized, putting aside of all earthly attachments and moving onto another plane.

I do know that it is only through a sort of privilege that I am this way; there are no unmet needs in my life. I do wish things for other people. There are people in my family who have things very hard and for whom the expression "life isn't fair" truly has meaning. I fervently wish things could be different for them. But I don't, for myself, wish that I had..., or wish that I could...

However, not wanting specific things in the future makes it challenging to try to plan for the future. It is much easier to have a direction and a plan towards something if you have a vision of it, whether it's a career, retirement, or just the next family vacation. In the end, if you don't dream, or consider what your ideal would be, can you move forward in a meaningful way?

I have always made one decision at a time and taken on challenges as they presented themselves. But I wonder if I will get to a time/place and realize that I don't have choices because I didn't make the right plans. On the other hand, the present could be less tolerable if it's always being compared mentally to "what if", or "if only..."

This all holds true with this lifestyle as well. Logically it would be lovely to be able to have a vision of what our ideal realtionship would look like, to have something to move towards. Even if the picture can't be complete because of unknowns, etc - there would still be something to work towards. But, not surprisingly, for my part, I'm pretty content anyhow.


  1. The gift of contentment is actually a pretty enviable one. Particularly when, as is the case with you, it's not simply the result of being driftwood on the sea of life. You have achieved goals that many can only dream about. The knack of being content with those and not always fretting that there's greener grass in the distance is a blessing.
    (Perhaps you should offer classes...?)

  2. Jz,
    This is very generous of you to say. I think it's like any personality trait - you take the good with the bad. I am glad not to fall prey to jealousy or wishing my life away a great deal, but there does seem to be some intellecutal laziness to it also, floating along, not setting or working towards goals.

  3. I agree with Jz... it's good to be content with what you have. As long as you're open to new opportunity and recognize it when it knocks on your door, you'll still move forward.

    I think having goals and making plans are good for dreamers who tend to get stuck in their dreams and never make anything happen (people like me), you know? I tend to live in the future, but over the last decade or so I've been learning how to put together plans to bring that vision to the present instead of sitting idly by and waiting for it to happen.

    If living in the moment works for you, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with that!



  4. Spirited,
    I think this is feeling less useful right now because I have some big decisions to make. It also come us because my husband has a very different style from mine in this area. We'll see.