Have you ever kissed someone and had the whole world stop? Everything fade away until all that is left is you and the other person and the moment, and the knowledge that nothing will ever be the same again.
That doesn’t happen, right?
Or have you had a job that you love going to, that it doesn’t matter how many hours you work because working just re-energises you? That you get so much satisfaction out of knowing you’ve done a good job and had a positive impact that you just can’t wait to go back to work.
That doesn’t happen, right?
So instead, lets settle for a job that pays the bills and is secure; for a relationship with someone that’s nice and reliable and who, “yes, of course I love them, its just, well….”
That’s what happens in real life, isn’t it. That’s what life is about, isn’t it. Isn’t it?
But what if it isn’t? Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not criticising on either side or saying one way is better or worse than the other. Everyone has to do what is right for them. If you find a way of having a calm and settled life that fulfils you and makes you happy, then that’s fantastic.
Certainly I sometimes wonder if part of my stress is caused by always striving for something that I’m not quite certain even exists. My job, for argument’s sake: it pays me pretty well, I’ve done it for a long time and, unless I do something daft, is pretty secure. But recently its destroyed my confidence and caused me much more unhappiness than satisfaction. I can’t remember when I last enjoyed going to work – even getting there without having a panic attack on the way would be good (ps: cycling to work is great for helping reduce this, its difficult to have a panic attack when you’re riding a bike nicknamed Bella that makes you want to sing in Italian!). Is that because I’m expecting too much from a job? If I just accepted that I’ll go in, do what I can and then go home, not looking to move up or help things be more effective, perhaps I’d be happier.
Maybe its better to get to a certain point and settle there. My weight, for example. I’ve worked hard to lose weight and get in shape (or at least, a better shape). This wasn’t helped by the arthritis diagnosis, although knowing that the pain would be eased by losing weight did give a push in the right direction. So now I’m at a size that is ok. I’m normal weight, I look ok in clothes. I’m working hard on personalised workouts which are having an impact (I can actually see muscles in my arms and that thigh tattoo is getting closer). But I know that if I really focussed on my nutrition and upped my workouts I’d get closer to where I actually want to be. This is also where you realise there are some things that are acceptable to say and some that aren’t: when I’ve mentioned that I still want to lose more weight/tone up more the comments are all along the lines of “no, you’ll look haggard”, “you’ll look ill”, even though I’m nowhere near the lower levels of my BMI. (As an aside rant: All those ‘motivational’ posters now about, “its about being fit, not being thin” – no, you didn’t get like that just through working out, you have adjusted your eating, I do believe the saying that you can’t out train a bad diet.) But anyway, I digress. This is about whether its ok to be content with content. So should I be happy at just being the weight and fitness level I am?
Should I be content to have a job that pays the bills and is secure? Should I look for a relationship with someone who would be reliable and dependable and, ok, I might not be able to talk to them about absolutely anything or absolutely nothing and they just totally get me, but they are nice? Should I settle at the weight and shape I am? Would it be so wrong and way less stressful, to just be content with content?
Sure, I can see the advantages in being thankful for what I have, for living in the moment, counting my blessings, being realistic in my expectations. Blah blah blah. But won’t it be equally stressful, just maybe in a different way, to always have a niggling doubt at the back of my mind that it could be better? Always wondering if only I’d taken a risk or tried a bit harder or been a bit more focussed, that I could have achieved so much more. Oh, and who is to say what’s realistic or not – who is setting those boundaries?
I’m going to say it again – this is not a criticism of anyone who says they have achieved exactly what they wanted and that they aren’t settling for content with content and that, actually, what’s wrong with content? There isn’t anything wrong with content. Content is great.
If that’s what you want.
But I don’t think I do. I want to have that feeling of the world stopping; I want that feeling of knowing I’ve made a difference; I want that feeling of knowing I’m the best I can be.
If I’d been content with content, I’d still be with my first husband and working as a secretary – and probably 5 stone overweight, drinking heavily and hiding in the bathroom to cry when no-one was looking!
So I’m going to try and find a balance: I’ll be content about what I’ve achieved so far, but not content to stop there. It’ll be my stepping stone. I can only be content here if I know its acting as a base to work towards where I actually want to be. Use the good things about my job, my fitness, heck, even what I’ve learned from relationships, to act as the foundation for getting something more. To getting that unrealistic aim – because its only unrealistic if I believe it is. Hell: I believe in zombies and aliens and ghost monkeys, I can certainly believe in having a job that I want to go to every single day; a body that can sport a leg tattoo and vest top with pride and finding a man that will make the world stop when they kiss me!