My podiatrist and I were discussing the definition of contentment. He felt it did not include happiness while I experience both. The Dr. said that he felt that people were looking for material possessions to make them happy and that without being able to have more than ones neighbor the people were expressing dissatisfaction.
My contention is that when one appreciates every day details such as: the beautiful day, a storm, watching a squirrel eating an acorn, loving all the improvements in modern life and in ones home and observing youth.
At Thanks giving time I was welcomed into a friend’s family home. The five year old grandchild told me she loved me. The typical behavior of crying when one does not get ones way was duplicated in the one year and a few months old other daughter. She tried to grab the table settings. When I blocked her efforts and said “no”, she put her miniscule hands by her eyes and rotated them in an “I’m crying” gesture. I burst out laughing. She looked at me in amazement. She expected a much different reaction. She repeated her grabbing and I repeated my laughter. She again looked perplexed. Next she grabbed for the fork again. This time I explained that the fork is for people to use to eat food and that when she eats she will have a fork, too, to eat with. She silently walked away, but at dinner she held up her fork triumphantly when I glanced over at her.
There is much to learn about happiness, it is the first experience of newness, it is the appreciation that we have so much to be thankful for, and it is the joy that we are alive. Contentment is the ability to put aside the somatic, emotional and cognitive pain and suffering that comes with living and concentrating on what we have rather than what we desire yet. Wanting leads us into an ever growing path of discontent because the list never ends.
The Doctor’s and my conversation led to this article and I am thankful that I am still able to think. The older we get, the more we have to be grateful for that young people take for granted. To be able to walk, talk, think, and visit with others becomes lost in the list of appreciation.
Take time every day to rejoice and express that pleasure to all that you meet. That is happiness and contentment.