Structure? Yuck! Contentment? Yay!

I’m probably the most unstructured person I know, while at the same time being one of the most anal.  Go figure.  There are things I’m an absolute freak about being exactly right (read:  OCD or damn close to it), but I have no personal schedule at all.  Not to mention the fact that I feel everything can wait until whenever I feel like doing it.  It’s not as bad as it might sound, and only leads to disaster if you’re unwilling to life with the consequences of procrastination.  I am.  You see, in most cases it doesn’t take much for me to be content, and contentment is very underrated these days.  Contentment to me is the true epitome of happiness.

Happiness itself is kind of a pipe dream.  Euphoria induced by happiness is a ‘high’, much like the ones achieved by drug addicts.  The act of chasing after that kind of happiness is like that of an addict jonesing for a fix.  Human emotions, like all things, appear in balance.  If we experience dramatic highs in our emotions, we will also experience dramatic lows.  There’s no avoiding it.  Love is one such cause.  Once the bloom of infatuation wears off, and we’re left with the real love, we don’t generally experience the drama unless we induce it through fighting and making up.  A life that isn’t much to my liking.

I used to be a drama queen, I think.  I remember being in high school and having fights with my boyfriend at the time because I didn’t feel loved enough, or was jealous or something.  I craved the drama and emotional highs and lows of the fights.  We would make up, we’d be madly in love once again, he’d buy me a bouquet of roses and leave it in his locker as a surprise for me, somehow knowing I’d be skipping school that day to come see him.  Yes, the card was written on, with my name and everything, so he didn’t buy flowers for any random girl and just happen to have them there.  There were meant for me.  He knew me pretty well, or at least he knew the person I was at the time.

The person I am now cringes at the thought of romantic conflict.  Of course, since I’m not in a romantic situation of any sort, that would just be awkward.  Romantic conflict coming from anyone at this point would be wholly unexpected and just plain weird.  Can you just imagine the situation?  Picture it:

“We have to talk about our relationship!”  A solid lump of fear appears in my gut.  Not to mention the roiling mass of confusion the whirls in my befuddled brain.  “Umm,” is the best I can do, completely at a loss for anything worth saying.  “I didn’t know we had one?!”  Yeah, that’s a little better, but would be hurtful to the poor deluded soul who thinks we do.  Believe it or not, that actually happened to me once, except he had a very slight reason for thinking we had a romantic connection, but it was a physical thing that had happened months before.  We’d never brought it up again, until that very moment when I felt like I’d been whacked over the head with a two-by-four, I had no idea there was anything more to it in his mind, and there certainly hadn’t been in my own.

So, anyway, I’ve veered of topic as I’m wont to do, and I’m dragging my ass back to my own point.  Structure is all well and good for people who are striving for the ever-elusive happiness, but those who strive only for contentment, such as myself, need very little of it.  I need to have food to eat, a roof over my head, food and care for my animals, my computer (and usually internet access), my medication for pain and nausea, and Pepsi to drink (or something much more palatable than water, which I despise).  All of these things are achievable with very little thought and effort.  They require small amounts of money, and the amount depends on the cost of living where you happen to reside.

I watch people drive themselves crazy all the time, looking for happiness, struggling with massive debt just so they could have the exact 50″ flat-screen TV they wanted at the moment they wanted it.  Most of the debt I’ve gone into for stuff like that has been for my daughter, so I could get her a kick-ass present for her birthday or something.  I’m getting over the need to do that these days.  She’s an adult now, and it’s time for her to learn she can’t have what she wants without working for it anyway.  She got a small gift this year, one that didn’t make our lives more difficult by adding more debt to our shoulders.

We were so strapped this year she didn’t get cake even, but she did get her favourite lemon meringue pie.  I’ve raised her well, because she was content with that.  You see?  There’s that word again.  Contentment is really the best thing in the world.  If you feel contentment, you feel peaceful.  Happiness does not feel peaceful.  It feels melodramatic, exciting, pleasurable, etc.  None of those things equate with peace.  Inner serenity is peaceful, contentment is peaceful and serene.

What I’ve discovered about most people is true for addicts as well.  A constant restlessness is what pushes people to look for highs of any kind.  People who are internally serene do not look for happiness, as their serenity feels better than happiness.

The funny thing about today’s blog is that I was actually looking at structure from the other side – as a benefit to my writing – when I started writing this.  I actually get a boost from a certain amount of structure.  When I get a writing assignment I jump right on it.  However, I find writing assignments to be a form of encouragement.  A challenge perhaps.  It challenges me in the way that I can prove to myself that I can come up with something for any topic.  Kind of like getting good grades in school.  The assignments aren’t mandatory, and if they were I probably wouldn’t write them just on general principle.  I really don’t like being told what to do.  Being challenged, on the other hand, is rather motivating.  A challenge met is something I find brings me peace, contentment and serenity, too.

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