Chasing Contentment

There is something about holidays and lovely weather that gets you thinking. I guess it’s leaving behind the day to day rat race and plate spinning, coupled with sunshine and warmth that makes you slow down and reflect.

Of course, when you throw a toddler into the equation, it totally negates the slowing down and reflection as you chase your whirlwind around the entire resort just because he think its hilarious.

I did eventually find a bit of thinking time in the spa though one day when I just *had to* try out the world famous Turkish hamam. For those that have never tried it, it feels like you are 6 years old again and being scrubbed red raw by your mum, but in a pleasant and less painful way. You walk out all gleaming and sparkly and slightly embarrassed that all that dirt did indeed get scrubbed off you.

The masseur was from the Far East. Her English limited but definitely better than my Balinese, and she politely quizzed me every so often.

“Do you like England?”

“Do you want more kids?”

“What do you do?”

I answered simply, mostly yes or no, partly through not wanting to lose her through our limited communication skills, and partly because she was now enveloping me in a sea of bubbles that seemed to be multiplying before my eyes. It did give me chance to ponder though…

Hmmm, I do love England, it’s my home. I’ve lived there all my life. Would I consider moving to another country? I’m not sure. I’m probably too much of a wimp for that and would miss my family too much. I do love Turkey though. Maybe we could buy a holiday home here, not that we can afford it. But wouldn’t it be great? Hmm…wonder what OH would think.

Yeah, of course I want more kids and soon. Its hard sometimes but amazing too isn’t it? I do love all that time with little Z so maybe one more? Maybe one more after that. Lets see.

It led me to that dreaded question I’ve been thinking about for a while…

Am I content?

I’m at a stage where I have some of the big things I dreamt about as a teen. It’s both a satisfying and unnerving feeling when you have fallen into the habit of rushing around all the time and always working towards something. How do you stop and enjoy and think “Ahh yes, I have arrived”. When I think “content” I picture someone sitting on their porch, in that comfy chair, smiling, looking peaceful.

If I was on that porch right now I would be chewing the OHs ear off about “What shall we do tomorrow? Where shall we go? Lets go back to Turkey! What about New York? I really need to start that book don’t I?”. My OH would be rocking gently in his chair and smiling and looking peaceful.

I always want to go, to see, to learn, to meet. I am content with my little family but not content with life. It’s taken me a while to realise that.

And I’m content with that.

My turn to ask her..

“Do you get to go back home to visit often?”

“Do you like Turkey?”

“Do you have children?”

She hadn’t been back home in 2 years and missed it but loved Turkey and the people and it felt like home now. She did have a daughter in Bali who was now 4.

And there it was.

The penny dropped.

I am extremely lucky to have what I have. I see my son every day. I have what I need. We have our little home and we have our family and friends. We live in the rain 90% of the time but we are safe and secure in our home.

I have dreams of all the things I want to see and do but very grateful for what I have already. And there is a difference between being content and being grateful.

“Ma’am, that’s the end of the massage”

End of reflection time.

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28 Comments

  1. Sarah Miles July 8, 2013 / 8:59 am

    Funny, I have been contemplating my own contentment a lot recently and have always suffered from acute ‘the grass is always greener’ syndrome.

    It’s taken a long time to realise it’s not.

    Thanks for linking up with The Monday Club 🙂

  2. Charly Dove July 8, 2013 / 9:38 am

    What a wonderful post. It’s funny how we only really have time to reflect when we’re taken out of our usual environment. I do the same. It must incredible difficult to have a child in a different country especially at such a young age. I bet you’re relieved you see Z every day, just as I am POD 🙂

  3. Bessy Blogs July 8, 2013 / 10:09 am

    We’re just back from a really relaxing break last week so this rings true for myself and our family.

    There is definitely something about being out of your usual environment and living life at a slower pace which makes you reassess everything. I’m guilty of constantly looking forwards, to finishing uni, to having a bigger house, nicer car(s), more money etc. I think it’s important to try to live in the moment more, and that’s what I’m doing since getting back to reality. I suppose we never know when everything could change so I’m going to try to enjoy what I have and fully engage in life as I know it, rather than constantly planning and looking ahead.

    I love your statement “I have what I need”. I’d guess most of us reading this are in that situation and this is what’s really important.

    Great blog, thanks Tas!

  4. 3yearsandhome July 8, 2013 / 11:07 am

    I get this. It’s something that I take the time to think about now and again too. Moving to Switzerland and being stripped of everything familiar was a huge help in making me realise what’s essential in my life and what’s simply nice to have; what’s really important and what’s an added bonus. Not rushing around for no reason is something that stopped a while ago. When you slow down, you soon see what you miss and what you don’t.

  5. Tom July 8, 2013 / 3:39 pm

    Great post. I have to say that I never really stop to think about such things and am probably therefore guilty of taking important things for granted – life is a little like a conveyer belt at the moment and I just lethargically go with it. Thinking now though, I would miss any of the component parts of my day-to-day life were they not there. I’m a lucky man. 🙂

  6. Suzanne July 8, 2013 / 4:09 pm

    Holidays are such a great opportunity to reflect on all this aren’t they? I think it’s important to think about such things and to (hopefully) conclude that we’re very fortunate and blessed to live the life we do. I’m constantly telling my kids this, so I need to show contentment too don’t I?!

  7. David July 8, 2013 / 5:05 pm

    Very interesting post. I think realising what you already have is as important as what you want. Sometimes you should stop and enjoy what you have instead of chasing something else.

  8. Jaime Oliver July 8, 2013 / 7:32 pm

    wow i am not sure how i would answer those questions myself! i certainly think that i dont really get time to contemplate things like this!

    I need to go to turkey and have the time to think!

    Thanks for linking up with #MagicMoments x

  9. Mummy of Two July 8, 2013 / 7:56 pm

    I think it’s too easy to think about things you should be doing or want to do and we should all just sit back and take stock of what we have and be grateful for it. It’s human nature though isn’t it to always want more and to do more!

  10. TK July 8, 2013 / 8:30 pm

    Most people would reply that they are not really content – because they always want something more. It’s a good thing that you appreciate what you have!

  11. Sarah MumofThree World July 8, 2013 / 8:44 pm

    A very important message for us all there, I think! I sometimes think I too am happy, but did my life turn out exactly as I’d hoped? Perhaps not. But I am married with three children, we are financially secure and we have our health. That is so much more than many people could hope for and I should be grateful for that. I AM grateful for that!

  12. Helen July 8, 2013 / 8:46 pm

    Visiting from The Monday Club and really enjoyed this post. The massage sounds heavenly but the chance for some reflection and a reminder of how blessed we are – priceless!

  13. AtoZ Mummy July 9, 2013 / 7:20 am

    Alhamdulillah 🙂 That is a beautiful piece. I have had similar reflections recently and through the fog of sleep deprivation I also feel very content. It’s a lovely feeling!
    I love the way you write btw, I always enjoy reading your blog! X

  14. Actually Mummy... July 9, 2013 / 10:20 am

    I think a happy person is always striving for the next thing – it’s human nature to want to progress. I think a content person does that, and manages to take time to just sit occasionally and reflect on what he has that is good. That’s the thing we all need to make more time for 🙂

  15. Mummypinkwellies July 9, 2013 / 11:12 am

    Wow! That’s one to make you think. Fab post lovely x

  16. Jane July 9, 2013 / 11:43 am

    I feel like I’m always looking for the next thing to do with our time and I have asked myself why and your post has really made me think. Perhaps its a girl thing lol. You have made me realise I am very grateful for my little life :0)

  17. Katie @mummydaddyme July 9, 2013 / 4:04 pm

    I totally get this post. I am most definitely content but I have days where the grass seems greener on the other side or I get a touch of the green eyed monster. But then I look around at what I have got- two wonderful little girls, my own home, food on the table and the chance to treat ourselves every now and again. And I realise I am so very lucky. x

  18. Mum2BabyInsomniac July 9, 2013 / 9:52 pm

    I have days where I really struggle and want to scream but I never wish for my life to be any different and I am really happy with it so I guess that means I’m content. It was having kids that made me enjoy my life really as before that I was never content, despite the fact I was never as stressed! x

  19. David / Oddly active July 10, 2013 / 4:34 pm

    Contentment is a funny thing – often the more we have the further we seem to get away from it. Strip life down to the bare bones where the only needs one can afford to worry about are the immediate ones and contentment can mean as little as a full belly and a dry corner to sleep in. I’m not suggesting we should all go back to living on nuts and berries, but if you look at Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs it does the to be the stuff in the upper section that causes all the stress and discontent! http://two.not2.org/psychosynthesis/articles/maslow.gif

  20. older mum in a muddle July 10, 2013 / 6:39 pm

    That was a beautiful post… and here’s the ironic thing – gratitude leads to contentment and peace. And reading this and the response from the Balinese lady helped to really out things into perspective for me. Gratitude is a very powerful thing. X.

  21. Stephanie July 12, 2013 / 7:59 am

    Very interesting post! Perspective can be a wonderful thing and we are so lucky in many ways in this country. It is always good to focus on what you have and when I do that I know that I am indeed very, very lucky. I had a recent health scare and it totally shocked me, it was a big wake up call to live life the way I want to live it.

  22. Louise July 12, 2013 / 11:26 am

    Great post, I love reflecting and sometimes looking at life some another person’s perspective really makes you appreciate what you have. xx

  23. Verily Victoria Vocalises July 13, 2013 / 5:37 pm

    A really great post which certainly has me reflecting and knowing how lucky I truly am. On another note, I have always wanted to try a Turkish massage – must do that one day. Thank you so much for linking to #PoCoLo lovely xx

  24. Amy Ransom July 13, 2013 / 11:32 pm

    Your post rang lots of bells… we too have just returned from Turkey. My massage was by a Turkish lady though and it was difficult to relax and reflect with a pan pipe version of ‘I just called to say I love you’ in the background!

    I also know that feeling of contentment and not being sure if you have it. I feel a little like you – that I am actually extremely content but always striving for something more. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that either and I’m not sure those of us who do it are actually striving for more happiness or whether we just like to achieve.

  25. shahnaz July 14, 2013 / 9:09 am

    Great post…amazing reflections…its always nice to reflect and remember x

  26. HonestMum July 30, 2013 / 9:40 pm

    Really touching post. We are so busy in our every day lives that holidays really allow us time to reflect and think about life. Post holiday I had big plans to change my work structure but somehow have fallen behind, deadlines are piling up and I’m back where I started. I really need to address this though as balance is key…I suppose balance is just so very hard when working with young children. I can’t imagine how hard it must be for that lady to be away from her kids. You’ve reminded me of how lucky I am. Thanks so much for this x

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