Something dawned on me recently. I realized, that perhaps for the first time, I am fully satisfied with my life.
Not that there haven't been times where I felt satisfied and content, there have been many, but never before had I felt that there wasn't anything that would significantly improve the quality of my life. Never before had I felt 'if the rest of my life stayed just how it is right now, I would be happy with that'.
Not that there aren't things which would be nice to have. A few things come to mind: I wish we had a back yard with trees, bees, a green house and a garden. I would like a kiln and a large outside studio filled with windows and a potters wheel where I could work with clay and not have to clean it up.
However, as desirable as these things seem, I don't feel that my life would be significantly better with them. They would be like icing on the cake or bonuses.
The only things I can think of which I feel would add significantly to the quality of my life would be children (but not yet) and being able to teach at a University. Since graduating I miss academia. I love much about it and a feel my life is enriched by that type of environment. But even without that, my life is fulfilled.
In terms of money and possessions I feel like we are rich. Compared to much of the country we aren't(compared to much of the world we are. Average income worldwide is $7000, but the super rich throw the number off. Most people make much less).
Although Marissa and I live well below the poverty line, we are prosperous. As little as we make, we can easily stay within our means. We have enough money to pay our bills, go out to eat every now and again, occasionally see a show or a movie. Occasionally we travel. (usually within a few hundred miles). Because of food stamps we are able to eat well. We even have some left over for savings.
We can afford to support our hobbies and passions. Books are cheap or free from the library. Art supplies are relatively cheap, especially compared to the amount of use one can get from them. Walks are free. Bike riding is close to free. Having a garden costs a bit to get started but is then free. Knitting is cheap. Swimming in lakes is free. Hanging out with friends is free.
We are both have laptop computers which connects us to most of the information and media in the entire world. Because we live above a coffee shop with unlocked wireless it costs us nothing to access.
Because I have gone through time periods where I didn't have enough money to pay all my bills and eat well, the fact that I am now able to feels that much better. I honestly feel rich. Because I am. Everyone I know is. We all have so many possessions and so much food.
(I recently finished a book on North Korea and came away from it feeling how extraordinarily prosperous we are. Even our homeless are more prosperous than many North Koreans.)
I live in a beautiful part of the country around creative, interesting people who inspire me.
Because I am not Mormon I never feel guilt or moral inadequacy. Which isn't to say that I never feel regret or that I could be better person, because I do, but it doesn't carry the same weight. It isn't guilt. It isn't a sense that I am offending God and that no matter how much I do it will never be good enough.
Being older helps. Experience has taught me what things actually make me happy and what things I only wish would. Maturity has helped me be less impulsive and more responsible to take advantage of that knowledge.
That I am in a healthy and committed relationship is key to all of this. No matter how good things were before I couldn't be entirely satisfied because I longed for a companion I could feel entirely devoted to as I am now.
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