Recently I went on a training course at work (a systems engineering short course – I live a glamorous life) and as a starter activity we were asked to call out what we believe a successful life looks like. For me, I sat there thinking of things like ‘no money worries’, ‘good health’ and ‘happiness’. The former two indeed went on the list, but the latter did not. Instead of ‘happiness’, many people called out ‘contentment’.
And this surprised me. Contentment? Isn’t that just being satisfied? Settling with what you have? Surely happiness trumps contentment? We should always be looking to improve, not just settle. Since the course and until a couple of days ago, this continued to baffle me. As someone who has gone through their own stress-filled, reclusive period in their life, I now want to be happy. I want to have a healthy work-life balance, be ambitious, laugh (a lot) and take as much enjoyment from life as possible. I want the highs. Sure, they’re going to be interspersed with lows but I want to strive for happy moments, not just settling for what I have.
And then the other morning it all made sense. I was sitting in my lounge, it was about 8.30 am and I’d been awake (annoyingly because it was the weekend) since half-five. The curtains were pulled back, the sky grey but brightening. All the side-lamps were on, some acoustic yadda-yadda playing in the background and I was sat there, in the middle of the sofa, in amongst far too many cushions and under a delightfully-tacky fluffy blanket and I felt it. Contentment. And it was just really really lovely.