“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master”. –Ernest Hemingway
Life. It seems to be the one craft we all can’t seem to master, right? We can be leaders in our field, selfless friends, focused students, and yet there will always seem to be something holding you back from your own personal Utopia.
The past three years for me have been ones of constant transition. From learning to be alone, moving to college, hating said college, falling in love with said college, then having to leave all of my closest friends, working in Africa, and starting completely over in a new school where I felt like I should’ve fit in but had never felt like more of an outcast. And that, my friends, is how you define discontentment. The root of my problems was not my surroundings, it was me. I had romanticized this picture for my life (I’ve read too many books) and it’s as if the fact that since those lives I had always read about weren’t my own that something must be wrong. I would think to myself, “I must change my major”, “something has to be wrong with me”, and “one step forward ten steps back”.
Suddenly, something struck. My mom had chided me about how I was never happy and I tried to ignore her and blame it on my surroundings, but she was right (again). After she told me this, I didn’t think on it for days, and like always I just ignored her (what I thought to be rude) advice and went on my unhappy way. But then all of a sudden it hit me, I had a problem with contentment. I realized that while there is nothing wrong with having expectations for my life, I cannot base my happiness and gratitude on the lack thereof. After discovering this, contentment seemed to just smack me right in the face. I was driving through Athens and thought to myself, “Wow, I really love this place”. It’s as if God just laid out all of my opportunities in front of me, everything I had been given, and shown me the beauty of my new southern college campus and I genuinely loved it. While there are still many things I could complain about, overall, I am in a state of bliss. I am happy and excited with where my life is going, I love my stereotypical university, and I absolutely love being in a small town. Although this is not where I want to be forever, I’ve discovered that I am content with being here at this stage of my life right now.
I think the state of contentment is beautiful because it means different things to different people. For some, reaching it means overcoming a death, an illness, or complete loneliness. But, I also believe that being able to be truly content in times of great trouble is a gift, and something someone should be proud of. I don’t have to be happy 24/7 to prove that I am content. I don’t have to not ever cry or complain. For my own sanity, my contentment is tailored to the idea that in my current circumstances, I am excited for and adore my life.