Spring is officially just around the corner. I know this because I was born on the first day of Spring, also known as the Spring Equinox. It’s the time when day and night are equal length, and this same phenomenon occurs again in the Fall, near the twenty-first of September. How fitting for my personality in so many ways. I always try to walk the fine line between light and darkness; optimism and pessimism; happy-go-lucky and responsible. Whew, it’s tiring some days!
Just like the animal and greenery world, people begin to awaken as well from the forced time indoors and start once again stretching their winter-stifled muscles, particularly those of the heart. What is it about spring that makes us turn to these thoughts? Is it the warm touch of sunshine on our faces? The cute perky blossoms of flowers and their buzzing, humming, flitting attendants? Fall is my personal favorite season, but Spring also brings so many visual delights, glorious scents and sensual touches of breeze and sunlight, that it rekindles in me the thoughts of love and the delight of the company of someone whose presence you enjoy.
For those of us who are currently alone, either by our choice or by design of life, this seasonal awakening can make us soul-search a bit. One of the things I’ve been dealing with lately is the fact that for the most part, I am pleasantly content in my solitude. Then every once in a while I get a wild hair and think time is passing me by and I should get on ‘out there’ and get coupled up! Thankfully that usually passes in a day or so, lol. My perspective is that solitude is preferable to a hasty relationship just because there seems to be some prejudice against single folk. People assume a lot of things about single people – that they are too picky, or they are selfish or they are just not trying hard enough to find someone. Few seem to realize that some people are just simply content with singleness for a time being. Maybe not forever, but then again, maybe forever. Others often fret about our lack of socialization, or our staying home too much with a book or plants, or some other thing they don’t understand about our life, and in a good-natured attempt to solve our perceived problem, begin casting around for some other poor single soul they know that might be in need of company of another poor single soul. Usually these people also happen to be extroverts who thrive on a bevy of friends and social activity to keep them fired up and happy. It is beyond their comprehension that someone could prefer to be alone. Oh, the horror! It’s something we simply have to endure with a smile, these attempts to solve a problem we don’t have in the first place.
Which brings me to contentment and happiness as topics for exploration. Somehow if one is content with their situation, be it singleness, their job, the home one has, or whatever, certain people consider that a defect; a lack of drive or motivation. Surely you should be striving for (insert goal here) because once you’re content with your lot, well, then what? I’ve never known anyone who professed contentment to suddenly stop getting out of bed each day. I’ve never known them to falter because they are content with what they have and where they are. I don’t think contentment is the same as stagnation, never moving or growing. I think contentment is being okay in the here and the now and yet still being open to what might develop in the future. This is a conscious practice that I am developing. It has not been my way of life historically. There was always a better job, a newer car, a faster computer, the most recent phone, etc. Through loss and forced simplicity, I am learning to be content. Yeah, I still chafe at it from time to time and have to chat with myself about what the real issue might be behind the feeling I’m having that is expressing itself in acquisition activity. That’s hard to do in this world. Most people that I know don’t function in this realm. Advertising surely doesn’t condone being content with what you have. Our consumer economy doesn’t encourage it either. And if you had told me ten, even five years ago, that I would be content in a space smaller than my garage at the time, I would have thought you mad as a hatter. Yet here I am, and I am learning to be content.
A companion of contentment is happiness. When you practice being content, small things that are often overlooked in our obsession for more (of whatever) rise to the forefront of your day. A blossom on the tomato plant. The budding of a flower that was just a tightly furled blossom a day ago. A mess of greens given to you by a co-worker. The scent of the first blooms of a tea tree wafting on the evening breeze. When you stop striving and start living, smaller things take on more meaning, in my personal experience. I have realized that nothing nor anyone can bring me happiness. I must find my own happiness right where I am. Happiness is in and around me – no one is going to serve it up to me on a platter. I have to gather it up in my arms for a moment, experience it, then release it so it can move on to the next person.
I have not reached Nirvana, whatever that is 🙂 I am just learning to live a little bit more in the present. Yes, I still have things that I desire – a little plot of land to call my own; solar panels to drive it; chickens to run around on it, and so on and so forth. And I will still work towards those things. But while I do, I will choose to live with awareness and thankfulness for what I do have, and hopefully improve my contentment and happiness ratio in doing so.
“Many people lose the small joys in the hope for the big happiness.” Pear S. Buck
Be well. Be content. Smile often.