I had a good summer. Like really good.
The weather was great, Andy and I were really connected, Grace was predictable and happy, I was on top of everything at work, and I felt truly content.
In fact, I was feeling so content that I could hardly recall what used to make me so agitated about life. I wanted to blog about things that were honest and real, that might really help someone struggling as I had been. So, I racked my brain over the summer trying to remember all the things that used to make me so irritable and discontent.
I struggled to muster up those feelings and I was hard pressed to remember what the issues actually were. I know that one of my biggest struggles was being content during Andy’s looong quest for a satisfying career. There were 6 seemingly endless years where he had no idea what he wanted to do and it felt like we were going to be stuck with his dead-end job forever. But, was that really the root of all of my discontentment before?
That issue alone felt like a huge, black cloud hovering over us, making everything look gray and dismal. I actually used that problem as an excuse to be pissed off about any number of other things.
“This apartment sucks. We’ll never be able to afford a house and I’ll be stuck with white walls and beige carpeting forever.”
“The So-and-So’s have no idea how great they have it. That guy has a great career and they have tons of extra money and a giant savings, I’m sure.”
“I’m surrounded by men with so much drive and passion. Andy will never be like that. We’re going to live a small life and I’m going to be miserable.”
“I feel like crap because I’m eating crap, but I know this cookie dough is going to numb the pain more than any freaking salad could. I’m just going to have to be ok with being overweight.”
Obviously these “problems” were hardly the result of Andy not knowing what he wanted to do. They were the musings of a miserable woman. Looking at everything with the glass half empty.
It’s easy to get into those kind of ruts. They creep up on us. Especially since our world seems to be so negative. Blaming others for our unhappiness has become a way of life for so many people.
I often think it’s because we’re spoiled. We have so many conveniences and even so much wealth compared to the rest of the world. We have machines to do our laundry, wash our dishes, cook our food, get our lazy asses to the grocery and even change the channel.
And, what are we left with? Lots of free time. Sure, we think we’re busy and I guess some of us really are, but I find myself with plenty of pockets of time that I squander.
I find myself lethargic on the weekends, this one being no exception. It usually sounds something like:
“I don’t want to be home, but I don’t want to go anywhere.”
“I feel lazy but can’t imagine doing anything productive.”
“Everything and everyone is annoying.”
“I just want to go buy stuff or munch the afternoon away.”
Discontentment at its finest. Negativity eroding my attitude and robbing me of the joy that’s found in being thankful.
I spent an entire summer feeling on top of the world, but the last few weeks I’ve been feeling weighed down by a wave of discontentment. Nothing has even changed. The weather’s been decent, Andy’s the same, Grace has been pretty good despite some teething, work is better than ever. There don’t seem to be any circumstances worthy of my shift in attitude. Yet, I’ve been sinking into the familiar rut.
You know what helps almost every time?
Getting off my lazy rear end and serving. Serving my husband or my baby or a friend or neighbor.
Getting outside of myself. Getting dressed and getting out of the house into the fresh air. Taking Grace to the park. Watching her wonder over all the little things I’d never normally notice. Acorns buried in the grass. Woodchips under the swings. Picnic table benches just her height.
Coming home from the park and putting a load of laundry in. Making dinner, doing the dishes and cleaning up the house. Serving my husband. Taking the focus off me.
You know what doesn’t help? Eating an entire bowl of tuna noodle salad and leftover Christmas chocolates (gross!) while watching junk on TV and browsing all the gorgeous stuff on Pinterest.
This just makes me feel full and bored and envious.
The lesson I’m learning, very slowly, is that I don’t just get dealt a hand of restlessness on certain days. Every single day I have a choice to count my blessings, get moving and serve the people I love.
The reward? An overwhelming sense of accomplishment, gratitude and joy.
Added bonus? Not eating hundreds of calories over my daily budget for days on end. I can hardly bear the thought of reporting for Weigh-In Wednesday tomorrow. Ugh.