On Finding The Contentment In Your Own Weird, Ideal Life

This morning was a special morning.

To most people, and frankly even to me, it wouldn’t really look all that different than anything else I typically do. There was nothing movie montage-able about this morning. It wouldn’t have had a jaunty soundtrack, I wasn’t bustling up and down a busy street smiling at strangers and drinking a latte that somehow wasn’t scalding right after the barista handed it to me while something like Hall and Oates blasted in the background.

But that doesn’t mean this wasn’t still, somehow, a special morning.

This morning I didn’t set an alarm. I woke up at 6 to let my dog out and went back to bed until almost 9. There wasn’t a line when I went to my favorite spot right by my apartment for a 12 oz soy latte and a last minute Christmas card for one of my friends I’m seeing unexpectedly this weekend. I sang Celine Dion in the shower. A really fantastic, hopefully life-altering package that I wasn’t expecting until Tuesday arrived today and now I’m typing this from a laptop while I watch my new iMac update to the latest version of Sierra. I cleaned my desk and listed to a podcast and am now sipping my favorite non-alcoholic drink (Lime La Croix) from a new mug which was sent to me by one of my favorite people.

What I’ve realized is that, in even the quiet, somewhat meaningless moments, I’m living my own version of an ideal life.

It’s difficult to explain what true contentment feels like because contentment exists on a fluctuating scale. There are days where you’ll feel like nothing is right and days where you can’t imagine your life being better than this right here right now. But you’ll realize that you’re living your ideal life, or at least a version of it, when even the mundane mornings have the ability to be good. Great, even. Or even, in some cases, special.

I never imagined this would be my life—which coincidentally is probably in the top 5 “most cliché” things I’ve ever written down. But in my early twenties I was in love, enamored with the idea of growing old with someone, and on a trajectory that had nothing to do with setting up a second computer in a house built by crying while freelancing to moving to full-time in tech and digital media. I wasn’t envisioning a life of quiet or learning to thrive in solitude. It was almost like I lived with the idea that happiness, or contentment, existed within perfectly formulated parameters. And anything outside of those parameters was not only completely unnecessary, but unknown. And the unknown didn’t need to be explored because everything inside my immaculate little formula for contentment was good enough.

The most magical thing about living your ideal life is the sheer fact that it likely will look nothing like what you thought it would. This isn’t to say that ideal lives or realizing you’re content won’t have both peaks and valleys. Life is life, no matter how happy you are most of the time. It will still find ways to fuck you up and drag you around and make you feel like everything is wrong. But the other most magical thing about living your ideal life is when you come back to the good, when you get back to the, “I had a perfectly unimpressive morning but it was still kind of lovely,” the rock bottom moments aren’t as lasting.

Earlier this year Chrissy Stockton wrote about living her own strange life and said:

“I have my own unique set of things to be at peace about. I am following that shadowy voice inside, this much I know for sure.”

And maybe that’s what it all boils down to. Maybe to find the ideal life, the life where you’re quietly content, the life where the nothing equates to special and even those completely boring, un-montagable moments still make you smile, you just have to figure out how to listen to yourself. How to trust that little voice that says, “You, yes you, are doing okay.”

Or maybe I’m just overly amped about having a new computer with a screen size that rivals my TV.

Who’s to say. TC mark

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