Contentment vs. Dream-Chasing

8:42 PM

I have always maintained that I should only blog if I have something valuable to explore through it that is relevant to share with others. The first time I felt this was when I was preparing to move to the other side of the world for my last semester of college. I wrote about what 'home' means, impermanence, new experiences and what it was like to be constantly learning.

The next time I felt compelled to share was when I'd moved back to Minneapolis and bought a home with Tory on the Northside of Minneapolis. And so began an exploration and engagement with a new and vibrant community, not excluding the loyal neighbor/drug dealer across the street, our buddies "the kids", and our friend Chef.

Then the tornado came, and the kids and Chef were forced to move when their home was ruined. A new family moved into the restored house and we came to love "the kids #2" as well. About a month ago, they found a new place a few miles away.

Our street very is quiet.

This point in life feels similar - we've transitioned from the ever-changing impermanence of college time to a lull of routine - work, meals, activities, paying down debt. Tory and I spend enjoyable hours together in the evenings and try to get to bed at a decent hour to start the day again. Yup, sometimes we just want to relax and watch Netflix. These are good things. Basic needs - nourishment, sleep, purpose, downtime.

This doesn't make for interesting writing - what I think is relevant to share is my inner life. At least, I feel the need to talk it out.

I am blessed to have all of my needs met, and comfortably, particularly apparent in a time where so many people don't have the security we do. And I'd like to be clear that this is a #firstworldproblem that I am about to delve into.

This is how it feels.

I am taking a brisk walk down a pretty city street holding hands with my husband and overall I'm really content. It's nice out. I'm walking and most days there are a few birds chirping and I notice them briefly as we breeze by.
But once in a while, I notice how fast I'm walking and I start to panic. I feel like I should stop and breathe the world in for a while, and offer something back. Instead, I keep walking and I dabble with a few opportunities that are accessible to me along the side of the road - like passing a street performer and tapping out a brief melody of my own as fast as I can before we've passed. I want to go back and make it beautiful. I want to squeeze my husband's hand tight and pull him down an interesting side street, get lost together. Find a beach and take a swim and see the Northern Lights from my childhood. I want to stop and reflect on the beauty of it all. 

I believe this is a documented phenomena known as Wanderlust. It's partly that, and partly a fear that at the end of the hurriedness of this phase of life, the next phase is waiting, busier than the last. It has potential to be true if we leave it to be - so I feel an intense urgency to find a way to opt out of the rat race before we're too embedded in the patterns. (Big fears: consumerism as the norm, allowing a new normal to define us, to let circumstance determine our path in life rather than our deeper purpose, to have little time in life for reflection and peace.)

I feel an urgency to explore and share ideas that center around these goals:

1. Find ways to authentically express my faith and love for people (social media being not the place)
2. Ensure that college was not 'the best years of my life" - perhaps the most unbridled - but not the best.
3. Consider the balance and the difference between settling vs. contentment
4. Attempt to discover where it is I/we are being led to go/do in our lives

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  1. Chasing the dream of contentment is a profound and more inward chase. You are right, the many options before you becomes a first world problem. But choose you must. You have many years to change and change again.

    I think that having a grateful reverence for the littlest of things in our lives can help us find contentment anywhere and under most circumstances. I feel like I am winning this battle of contentment, while living in a world that is constantly telling me I need to have more of everything! It is still hard and I have bad days. Funny, I think, that the best years of my life can sometimes feel like the hardest years. I really mean that- It's a profound feeling.

    So many types of dreams, too. I have some good ones that aren't really meant to become real; they are still good fun.

    I love all the thinking going on here, on this entry :-)


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