My definition of mourning contentment is way different from Randy’s definition. He’d also probably spell “mourning” without the “u”. Y’all know what they’re like in the morning.
Anyway, I don’t know if the following story is really the first time I recognized the feeling of contentment or just my first memory of feeling content. I will say that having a narcissist for a parent hindered my ability to feel content, so it’s not hard for me to believe that it took over two decades to recognize the feeling.
I was 23 years old and on my first honeymoon.
I was a newlywed in the Cayman Islands with a husband I was lukewarm over. I’ve mentioned a time or two that my decision making skills are remedial, right? Well, when you walk down the aisle with the thought “I guess I can always get divorced”, then calling your decision making skills “remedial” is an insult to people with remedial decision making skills.
Still, I experienced a true moment of contentment.
The fact that my husband was with me was irrelevant.
I wore a yellow sundress and no shoes while sitting on a boat eating cherry pie from a seashell. I sat on a bench in front of a speaker and listened to Jimmy Buffet blaring in my ear. The air was warm, but not uncomfortable. I remember having this feeling that I didn’t recognize. My chest wasn’t tight. I didn’t wish I were somewhere else. I was exactly where I wanted to be. I wanted nothing more than my cherry pie and to listen to Jimmy Buffet and I’m not much of a Jimmy Buffet fan.
I was content. I value contentment over happiness.
I mean, I’m not going to bitch about feeling happy. Happy is good. Happy is also fleeting. Contentment settles in and spreads all the way down to my digits and feels warm and safe.
That first time I felt content, it didn’t last long. I remember that as soon as I recognized how fucking good I felt, I started to mourn the inevitable end of the feeling. I knew I wouldn’t be able to hold on to it and instead of just living my contentment, I worried it away.
30 years later. For all that is fucking holy, how the fuck is that right? How was that 30 years ago?
Now, I feel content more often than I used to. Not as much as I’d like, but I do feel it.
Last week, when we were in Tennessee with our mountain friends, we went from a fairly hot morning, to a misting rain in the afternoon.
Randy manned a smoker while Mountain girl and I sat on a glider on a covered deck. We had a kitty sitting between us and there was nothing more in the world I needed or wanted. The rain blew in and felt like religion. Well, religion that never causes wars, hard feelings, or bigotry. Unicorn religion.
I wrote most of this longhand while sitting on the glider.
Well, I wrote until Stripey cat decided he no longer wanted me to be kitty adjacent. I had to stop because he climbed up on me and put his ass right on my notebook. Stripey cat and I had to have a few discussions about him making biscuits on my boobies because damn, those were some sharp claws. Even with him periodically kneading my leg, stomach, or boobs, feeling his warmth and listening to the rain and talking with my friend kicked the contentment up a few notches.
I told her the story about being on the boat and how I sucked at feeling contentment. I mentioned how grateful I was that I learned, after practicing for years, to appreciate the moments when they came. I didn’t mourn the end of the afternoon. I just appreciated feeling that I was exactly where I belonged.
Am I content now? Well, it’s late and I should be sleeping. I have to work tomorrow and, if today was any indication, then tomorrow is going to be the producer of stomach acid. So, no. I am not particularly content at this moment.
I can look back at last week and smile. I’m not sad that the moment ended. I am just appreciative that I got to experience it. I’m also no longer afraid that every moment of contentment I feel will be the last one.
I know there will be more.
I have learned to stop and pay attention to these moments when they happen.
I have learned to not be afraid to let them go when the moments pass. That is very nearly true.
So, there are a few of my moments of contentment. Tell me one of yours. Seriously, because tomorrow is going to suck balls and I could use some of your happy thoughts.