I made a new discovery the last time I looked at my collection of short stories.
Every short story I’ve ever written, from the time I was seven or eight up until the last one I wrote have the same common theme.
I wrote my very first story about a dog who gets lost and has to find his way home. When he gets home he is so relieved to see his own bed.
My second story that was somewhat substantial was about a princess who decides that there is more to her life than her palace. She gets on a boat and ends up in a dance studio in Italy, where she eats bread, cheese, and pasta until she misses her parents and life. She goes home and is finally satisfied with what she has. I can’t tell you why dance studios, bread, cheese, and pasta were my definitions of Italy, but hey, it could be worse.
Some of my more recent, grown up short stories are about normal people trying to be content without a grand adventure. These stories feature plain, normal people like librarians, parents, and teachers.
All of these stories have the same concept: finding worth in the life you live, not the one you wish you had.
Finding worth in our boring, intensely normal lives can be quite the challenge. How can we be content without adventure, suspense, something new?
Clearly this is something I’ve been thinking about for much longer than I thought. How does one find worth in the life they live now, instead of pining for a life that will never come? Or what if the life they wish for does come but they are too busy looking at some other life that they miss it?
I don’t have the answers to this question. I have ideas, but no real answers.
I think a big part of being content and satisfied is perspective. I feel like I always end up talking about perspective, but it is so vital. When you realize that the life you live right now could change drastically at any time, it makes you enjoy everything that much more.
Remind yourself to enjoy where you are. Some people are so anxious to get to the next part of their lives that they miss out on what is happening to them right now. I know we all know those people. Maybe we are those people. If we aren’t careful, we will get to the end of our lives and wonder how we missed out on so much.
Don’t spend your time comparing your life to someone else’s life, or even to the ideas in your head about what your life should be, Enjoy what you’ve been given.
Sometimes finding worth in my life means journaling about the silly, mundane things that happen. Sometimes it means taking pictures of the things I see everyday because one day, I won’t see them everyday.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t strive to improve your life. I am not giving myself a pass to sit still and not work at making my life all it could be. I am however, giving myself the ability to take it easy, to relax, to not worry so much about what my life could be and instead, focus and enjoy what my life is.
Find something in your life that you think is mundane and make it beautiful. Understand that the life you are living right now is one of value. Enjoy where you are right now, because you won’t be there forever.