A few years back I was a different person. I saw the world differently- I was easily contented. I had everything I needed and, for the most part, that was all I wanted. In a way, I was an optimist. I always expected the best of the world and the people around me. I lived my life under the assumption that as long as you keep your head up and don’t do anything too stupid, everything will find a way to work itself out. Those were good times, but somewhere along the way I adopted a new philosophy. I got tired of having what I had and decided to want what I wanted instead. In retrospect, that wasn’t the best philosophical decision I ever made, but on the bright side, I did get to experience regret for the first time… that was snazzy.
Over the last few years I’ve been trying to find a way to retrace my steps and be the person who I want to be again. Not that I haven’t learned and grown a lot over that time, or even that I’m not happy with who I am now, but I feel like I’ve been so cynical and defeatist recently and that’s a part of me that I hate. I need to figure out how to strike a balance between contentment and ambition. My mind is so bipolar sometimes that it’s hard for me to create a place where those two concepts aren’t mutually exclusive. For all those years I was content and was completely without ambition. When ambition sprung up, it did so at the cost of contentment. I became bitter and hateful and I wanted to change everything around me no matter the cost. That got pretty ugly pretty fast.
Recently, I’ve been able to settle into a place somewhere between extreme ambition and extreme contentment, but it still feels to me like they’re opposite ends of the same scale. I feel like the happier I am, the less likely I am to push myself to do more and the more I decide I want something I don’t have, the more displeased I become with the things that I have accomplished. I’m not sure if that’s normal or not. I’m not sure if those two things are actually supposed to be related. Hmm…
Yesterday was a bit of a tedious day. At no fault of my own, a lot of the things that I planned on doing fell through. I had a bunch of errands I needed to run and spent most of the day waiting around for phone calls that never came. Then I went to baseball practice and there were 3 guys there. Then I lost my sweater. As recently as a week ago I would’ve gone to bed upset because my day had gone so poorly, but last night, as I trekked back to the field where we failed to have baseball practice with 20 pounds of gear I didn’t get to use strapped to my back, I chuckled and thought “I wanted to get rid of some of my clothes anyway.” It’s been a while since I’ve had a thought like that. For years I’ve been trying to find the bright side again and haven’t been able to see past the so-called disasters right in front of me, but last night was different. So different that I came home and blogged for the first time in 8 months.
Mentally and emotionally I feel like I’m better off than I’ve been in a long time. I’m happy. I’m not that do-nothing form of content that I was as a kid, but I’m happy. I have plans that I’m excited about and I’m staying busy working towards them. I feel like even on my bad days, I’m accomplishing a lot, putting things in place and making the most of what I have to work with. It’s a long cry from the contentment I had grown used to, but, at least until I can truly reconcile my contentment with my ambition, I think I’m ok with that.