on contentment

August 19, 2014

on contentment

Contentment is one of those things that you never really master, is it? It seems to come and go. Right now I’m searching for it.

There has been a lot written on the internet about fighting comparison. Sure I deal with that from time to time: wanting my life to look a little more like hers, wishing my blog was as successful as that one or that I had the resources to pull off that project.

I’m searching my heart, though, and I think that I’m being truthful when I say that I don’t really play the comparison game too much. I know that we all have different struggles and we are all coming from totally different places and we all have different strengths. I actually love who I am and I love my life.

Sometimes I do fight off discontentment within myself, though. This is so silly, but usually it’s because there are things I want to spend money on that we can’t afford. For example, here are some specific things that if we had the extra funds, I would purchase:

  • a real camera
  • new workout clothes and shoes
  • yoga mat + carrier
  • weekly swim lessons for Meredith
  • a good blender/food processor
  • supplies to do a small reno on our kitchen & half bathroom and several other smaller DIY projects for the house

But the truth is that this is the most expensive time of life for us right now. We have two kids in daycare full time. We have a mortgage, student loans, and two car payments. We have good jobs with good benefits (which I am SO grateful for!!) but we aren’t raking it in. We are constantly trying to save money here and there, but in the end there isn’t a whole lot of saving going on. It is frustrating.

Over the weekend David and I went to tour Costco to see if it would make sense for us to join. We decided that if we had more freezer space it totally would. We have an extra fridge + freezer in our garage but the outlets don’t work there and never have, along with all the outlets in the bathrooms, so we were thinking that it would be worth it to hire an electrician. As we were pulling up at home later we saw some big tree branches down in our yard and realized that we also really need to get our trees trimmed.

“That’s another thing that costs money,” I said. “Everything costs money!”

“What do you mean?” David prodded.

“The electrician, the trees, a camera, and everything else I want.”

“Maybe we just need to work on not wanting so much,” David suggested gently.

I knew he was right. How do you do that, though? I’m not asking rhetorically. I really don’t know.

For me it seems to come and go in cycles. I try to focus on what I have and stay busy and eventually I get to a place where I feel fine the way things are. Prayer helps. So does going outside.

How do you fight for contentment?

Posted in: personal, thoughts

Comments on on contentment

  1. 1

    From Ashley Koch:

    For me, it helps to prioritize wants vs. needs with my extra money. I like to make a list of the most pressing actual needs (right now, it’s car repairs) and go down the list until the least urgent needs. Then I do the most urgent wants (it’s travel right now) to the least. It helps me look at where my money should go, so I don’t feel like it’s all over the place.

  2. 2

    From Kathleen:

    That is such a great idea, because I start thinking of ALL the things there are to spend money on, and I get so overwhelmed and scatterbrained! Making a prioritized list speaks to my organized soul.

  3. 3

    From Nora:

    Thought provoking post and one I can relate to.

    earlier this year Knight and I made a list of things we NEED to do the house, things we want to do for the house and the “someday” list. That’s helped us immensely. I do the same with groceries (I can’t be the only person who doesn’t always want what is in her fridge/pantry, right?) and other things that I want vs. need. It’s hard to balance it and I struggle. I have to remind myself that we have exactly what we need for the time being and try to move on. BUT easier said than done. I have no helpful suggestions or answers at all other than to say I get you, friend!

  4. 4

    From Allison @ With Faith and Grace:

    We’re definitely in this right now. We have so much we want to do and need to do. We have bills and grad school, but we also want to travel and remodel our new house. And I’m only working part-time right now so we’re pretty much scraping by. It’s hard to balance what we want to do with what we can do given the limitations of our budget. Especially when it looks like other people get to do all the fun stuff. :( Ah the comparison game…

  5. 5

    From Stephany:

    I can wholly understand this, and it’s something I struggle with a lot. I have a long list of wants that is never ending and it can be so overwhelming to realize how much I actually want. Even though I know it isn’t STUFF that makes me happy, it’s normal to have things we want – be it more money to travel, more money for clothes, more money for a nice camera or computer, more money for home reno’s, etc. So it’s hard, but I guess all we can do is do the best we can. Try to be content with our life as it is now, save for those purchases we want, and realize we aren’t owed anything and we can’t have everything we want rightatthisinstant.

  6. 6

    From Christina Chadick:

    Oh gosh. I so feel you. What helps me most is keeping in mind that I actually *could* by the things that I want, right this red hot minute, but that I am *choosing* not to. That mindset allows me to feel less “grasp-y” and deprived. The other thing that helps is remembering that even more than Anthropologie clothes, even more than Season 3 of Homeland, even more than new thermal drapes …. I want financial freedom and peace of mind. Oh, and I avoid deprivation triggers like the plague. For example, Anthropologie magazines go immediately into the trash!

  7. 7

    From Kathleen:

    Totally agree with all of that. The mindset idea is so smart; that kind if thing really works for me so I’ll definitely have to remember it. Thanks for the thoughtful insight!

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