Learning To Be Content…


It’s been quiet here lately…

I have been mulling over a profoundly-worded-eloquently-stated-excuse-riddled apology as to why I have been so out of touch. Then I recently read a blogger’s reason for not meeting the “weekly quota” of pushing out life-changing blog posts and I decided I wanted to be more like her – to publish blog posts of worth – not quantity – even if that meant I only posted once a quarter instead of once a week.

And then life happened. Or in my case has come to a screeching halt. Like I am treading water and am wondering when/if I will ever plant my feet on solid ground again instead of bobbing up and down in the waves, holding my breath and waiting to find out what the next wave may have in store for me.

On a recent trip to Disneyland with family friends, I went on the Little Mermaid ride in California Adventure with a little guy. As the ride began to weave its way “under the sea” my companion took the deepest breath he could muster and held it in for as long as he could stand. About 30 second later, he gasped for breath and let out a disgruntled sigh followed by the following remark,

“Ugh! I still can’t hold my breath the entire time we are under the sea!”

Granted, most of the ride consists of time “under the sea”, so the probability of my companion’s ability to even fulfill his desire of holding his breath the entire time we were below sea level, was quite impossible. But in his little mind, he struggled to grasp the idea of being able to hold his breath with the reality that it is quite absurd to try such a feat as we were actually never under water and had no need to hold our breath.

This little experience though hilarious in the moment, got me thinking about how I handle different experiences in my life. Sometimes when I find myself in a “holding pattern” I assume that the obvious reaction is to hold my breath until the outcome is known, but usually I can only last about 30 seconds before I need to take a breath again, like my little friend. I struggle with my inability to fulfill a seemingly easy task, only to realize later that my grand idea of holding my breath to see if that would somehow help my situation is actually quite ridiculous and most unhelpful.

Holding patterns are my least favorite thing to endure. Because there is nothing else I can do to make things stop for good, or start up again.

 It is like waiting in line for your favorite ride at Disneyland when it suddenly shuts down. You have to decide if you are going to commit and stick it out even if that means you are standing there for the rest of the day, and then risking that whatever issue the ride experienced was never really fixed resulting in the last ride of your life; or if you should bail and not enjoy the thrill you experience, but lean on the side of safety and try to enjoy the rest of your day on other less exhilarating rides.

As I stand in this holding pattern, it doesn’t help that the life of other young adults surrounding me are getting green lights to do the things they have been waiting for – being hired by clients who love their work; getting scholarships to their top college because of high academic or athletic abilities; marrying their childhood sweetheart; giving birth to another precious child; spending a week with friends on a much needed vacation. I could go on…

No green lights for me. You see, the signals sensors are for some reason not recognizing me, and so cycle after cycle continues to go by, skipping my green light. I am now holding up traffic behind me, and causing road rage as each second passes by. If you have a number to a maintenance crew who specializes in the function of stop lights I would appreciate the referral – my light seems to be broken. Do I break the law and run the light, or stay put and aggravate everyone else behind me? (Okay, okay, this is probably not the greatest analogy to use, but it’s what came to mind, so there.)

I just recently celebrated my 24th year of life (I know, I’m getting old…my dad even told me so the other day…). Although I cannot say that I have actually written down a timeline of my life, I admit, I kind of had an idea of what it was supposed to look like in my head. Honestly, I am about as close to my #lifegoals as a turtle is to the finish line after the race has begun. (Translation: everyone else is nearing the finish line of one or more of their goals and I have only taken the painstakingly challenging two steps forward just to have to back up because something blocked my path resulting in even more of a delay.) As I look down my life goal checklist, I am running out of “alternate ending” scenarios to replace milestones that haven’t taken place. I am running out of options for myself and am scared at what I might experience when the alternate endings are all viewed.

At this point you’re probably thinking I am the most ungrateful, depressed, twenty-something, single, young adult that has ever walked the planet. If that is the case, it was not my intention. The whole reason I decided to start blogging was to share the details of my life in a way I think I express it best. I have found that I can relate to so many others when I read the blog of their life story. Maybe you can relate to mine. I don’t pretend to have it all-together. I probably never will. What I do know is this is the raw and real stirrings of my heart – a constant struggle of contentment.

Like learning to be content in the inability of holding one’s breath during the duration of the Little Mermaid ride.

Like being content when my Facebook feed is full of new “Life Events” from friends and family when mine has been dormant for years.

Like being content when the signal I am sitting at won’t turn green, cycle after cycle.


I recently read the following quote regarding contentment that really spoke to my heart. May it be as encouraging to you as it was to me:

“[Contentment is] not a gift or fruit of the spirit. Paul simply said that he learned to be content. A person who’s learning contentment is a person who is honest about how they feel when they don’t have something they would like but are consistently looking for ways to find themselves with enough.” – Ryan and Amanda Leak, YouTube Documentary creators and authors of “The One: An Amazing Love Story Starts With You” as quoted in a “Single Matters” interview

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