It is a terrifying feeling to wake up to a morning that brings you nothing more than a mediocrity that lies in the menial comings and goings of your day to day living, which is why while I’m a creature of habit, it’s a habit of constantly changing things up in my routine. I have a different favourite song each week, I go on random cooking binges and I’d easily be marathoning an anime series for a few days and switch over to a Western sitcom when I feel like I’ve had too much of one single thing. It’s safe to say that I try my best to stay away from the sense of complacency, as it inevitably muddles my brain and greatly reduces my capability to give a care about my very real responsibilities.
But in doing so, I wonder if I’m passing up the idea of contentment and confusing that for merely settling, when all I want to do is to strive and better myself with every day that I’ve been given. Being in my twenties and knowing that by next year, I’ll qualify to be in my “late twenties”, it scares me to think that I’ve not studied enough, not explored enough, not done enough, not achieved enough, and is that the greed talking or am I simply just trying to make the most of what I’ve got?
And it’s a sentiment that’s shared by so many of us that find ourselves trapped in the rat race, just trying to find ways to one up one another while grasping what little wins we can grab in between. Which is why it’s so easy to mistake contentment for complacency, because we’re so caught up in the mentality that there’s always going to be something better in the distance that we bypass the oasis in search of the gleaming city far against the horizon.
We forget so easily that to settle means to be okay with less than ideal situations; you settle for some fries when you’re really craving for a burger and you settle for a break up or a separation when you really wanted that relationship to have worked out. Being content, on the other hand, is a whole other ball game that consists of being able to enjoy individual moments of happiness while glancing at the horizon that’s within your reach, and you know, you’re not far off from it. It’s understanding the fact that life is not a series of manufactured Lego blocks that so easily fit together, but that it comes in chaotic waves that’s up to us to discern and make something valuable out of it.
Happiness should never be something we feel guilty about; contentment is not a sin. Unfortunate as it is, being content nowadays is almost always seen as a commendable achievement, especially in this day and age. Envy feels like second nature as we scroll through our social media feeds and wonder what’s it like to be able to afford constant weekend getaways and have a loving supportive partner and how it must feel to be able to show off one’s artistic creations when all you’ve got is a moldy potato to show for.
Nevertheless, while it may be an uphill battle, that sense of contentment is one that’s worth chasing after, more than any earthly riches or dreams that you could possibly begin to reach for. It grounds you, and allows you to fully enjoy the struggles that come with the knowledge that no matter how short or long your life has been up to now, it is a life that is well-lived.