February 28, 2006

Content VS Happy

Do you know the difference?

It's a pretty big one. And I'll give you a bit of advice, if I may. Content is soooo much better than happy.

For years I just kept telling everyone that I wanted balance. I wanted a "normal" life. It was something I'd always wanted, envied in others, but never felt in my own life.

When I was married it was far from balanced. And no one, in any way, could ever say I was content. I was miserable. Plain and simple. Oh - there were flashes of good, moments when I was truly happy. When the oldest granddaughter was born, holding her, looking into that beautiful face - yeah, I was happy. When my middle stepson graduated from high school, happy doesn't even begin to cover it.

But never did it feel "normal". Never.

After the divorce, I moved. A lot. I changed careers, thinking that would help. Oh, the job at Tropicana made me happy. Happy, busy, needed. But again no balance. And it was fleeting. One day I woke up and it was gone. Just a distant memory.

Flash forward to now. I've had several conversations with friends and they pretty much say the same thing. "We just want you to be happy". And, while I appreciate that more than I can say - I don't want to be just happy. I want to be content. Content with who I am and where I am in my life. THAT is more lasting, more satisfying than being happy.

Oh - please don't take this to mean that I'm not, happy that is. But what I am is sooooo much better. I'm content. I'm settled. I've lost that need to keep "rearranging" my life.

Whew, this is harder to put into words than I thought it would be.

Let's see if I can explain. I've always identified myself by my career. Now? Not so much. I'm actually embarrassed to say where I work and what I do. But - I'm working to change that, find something I can enjoy and take pride in. But NOT something that I hide behind. That's the key. It's an addition to my life, not the definition.

I thought I needed bigger, better and newer houses. I kept moving up. My little apartment, my condo, my townhouse, the house in Orlando. But you know what I discovered? Of all the places I've lived, as nice as they were, I'm much more settled here in the Little Blue Cracker House. No, I don't have a dishwasher any more. Yes, the bedroom is smaller than anything I've ever had. Yes, there are issues with the furnace. But I love this little house. Even with it's icky wallpaper, horrid blue carpet - it's HOME. I'm content here. I want to be here. I want to hear laughter and talking and footsteps of my friends and loved ones. It's my favorite place to be.

I don't go out so much anymore. The nights of drinking until I fell asleep are pretty much over. I don't need to. I get home, make dinner, have some conversations and settle into bed. The people in my life are those I CHOOSE to have there.

For years and years I chased HAPPY. And just as soon as I would catch it, poof, it was gone. What I've found is contentment. Solid, lasting contentment - with who I am, where I am, and what I have.

That's a nice place to be.

Posted by Tammi at February 28, 2006 07:15 AM

The first step is to know what you need and then how to find it, get it, have it, be it. You've found what you need, you've 85% where you need to be for you and as your friend, that is the most that I can hope for. Happiness comes when everything has found its place and will come again. But contentment has stability and that is most important.

Love you!

Posted by: Lee Ann at February 28, 2006 07:43 AM

Happiness is an emotional state of mind. Contentment is a state of BEing.

Posted by: h~ at February 28, 2006 09:12 AM

Then let me say, I wish you a life time of contentedness with a little Happiness thrown in for spice!

Posted by: Oddybobo at February 28, 2006 09:29 AM

I'm most content when I'm busy as hell and even a little stressed. Contentment AND happiness is different for different folks. Glad you got yours.

Posted by: og at February 28, 2006 09:45 AM

Sounds like you have found your spot. :) I am glad for you...

("Happy for you" seemed like a poor choice considering what you wrote, but I am happy for you too...) :)

Posted by: Richmond at February 28, 2006 05:11 PM

I never really thought of it this way, but you have a GREAT POINT! I always wanted to be happy as well, but now I understand so much better!

Thank you for putting this in a way I can understand and relate to!

Wishing you a lifetime of contentment!

Posted by: ktreva at February 28, 2006 07:23 PM

I am soooo GLAD you've finally found contentment. I have watched you chase happiness for years and I was beginning to wonder if you'd ever find it. Now that you have, I think that happiness will find you too. I especially love that you realize your job does not define you. I just wish you could have found it closer to me. ;-{ Love you, stay content. ;-)

Posted by: Cuz at February 28, 2006 07:55 PM

I agree with my Mom. We just had this discussion over Christmas. My goal is contentment... not happiness. I want the state of BEing.

Posted by: Bou at February 28, 2006 10:24 PM

I'm so glad you are content, and everything is going well for you (aside from the job). We have been prayin' for you. I heard the sweetest thing from little Indy yesterday; "Mommy when can I go play in Tammis World, it's a lot funner there!" We love ya hon.

Posted by: Emily at March 1, 2006 12:33 AM
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