Redefining Contentment

I’ve had reason over the last year to redefine some things in my life, and for many reasons I get very pensive around this time of year in the first place.  It has nothing to do, actually, with the turn of the season which is coincidental.  It has everything to do with the fact that this time of year seems for some reason to act as a nexus of change in my life.

I made some choices on a gigantic leap of faith at this time last year that I’m still unsure if they’re panning out the way that they should.  Naturally with me, they were huge, life-altering decisions and I just made them on a leap of faith.

I pondered some of them for a very long and agonizing time.  But when it came time to decide, I swept aside some real concerns and just decided to jump in and hope for the best.  Some of the concerns I swept to the side were simply matters of personal happiness and contentment.  I redefined the parameters of both and decided that perhaps my goals were a bit too selfishly high.

Now, a year later, I suppose I’m reasonably happy.  I am fairly content.  But still I wonder if the total sum of my choices was a net positive for my soul.

The kids remain the biggest mitigating factor in all of it.  Whatever “contentment gap” I might be experiencing, the life I’m helping to provide for the girls not only bridges it but makes a potential chasm resemble a slight crack in the bedrock of my existence.  So I’ve unquestionably lost perspective, but in a good way.

I know that I’m tired.  What I carry with me every day is a heavy weight.  There are friends and family whose counsel I could use and whose comfort I would welcome who nonetheless have chosen to turn their backs.  I won’t lie and say that doesn’t sting.  Goodness’ sake, it hurts.

I’ve dealt with it by going in an opposite direction from my past habits.  Instead of getting more things and indulging more in my hobbies, I started giving things away.  I’ve been donating things to charity, cleaning out my storage unit and giving items away on Freecycle.  This started slowly at first but picked up speed.

I’ve continued to pare down my physical possessions, if for no other reason than I find them to be useless to me now.  I don’t find book collections quite as stimulating.  In fact, I now refuse to hold onto books after I’ve read them.  I’ll hold onto a few gems I anticipate going permanently out of print (or getting banned) within our lifetime, but gone is the enormous pile of Star Wars books I once had.  I still read them, but for the life of me I don’t understand why I held onto them after I did.

Same with my DVD collection.  That’s been stripped to nothing but the bare essentials (let’s face it, I do occasionally get the urge to watch a few scenes from a Star Wars or Batman film at 10 o’clock on a Sunday).

Is it just the dreaded process of “growing up” that I’m experiencing?  Or is it that I feel a need for another change?

But maybe not making a change is the change I need to make?

What a fine tradition of change I’d be abandoning.

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