how i got content with real life
No one was going to save me from grumbling about things that didn't matter that much. It was up to me. I could resent and hate it, or make a way to be happy.
Contentment is hard to come by.
Especially as a woman. And especially as a woman with a smart phone.
We are ALWAYS looking at people who seem to have it all together.
And believe me, I get it.
I was never content to live in Wyoming.
I felt trapped here. Like the roads could close at any minute and I'd be stuck with nothing but cold toes and a Walmart. And to be fair, the roads do close a LOT. Like in the winter, you've got to really be committed to leave town because it's entirely possible you could get stuck for a night or two. You realllllly gotta want it. And when you live in a town with no Target, you want it pretty often.
But for real. My family is far away. It's freezing 3/4 of the time. We don't have Chipotle. Henry needs access to the kind of medical care we don't have here. Just going to the airport takes two hours. I could go on...
But anyway, I lived here about 9 or so years feeling resentful. Like there had to be something better somewhere.
If only my husband would move. If only Laramie could not be the worst and get a freaking chicken place. If only we didn't have to buy stuff on Amazon every day. (Actually, I like that one quite a bit)
So I grumbled. For YEARS. I was mad for being "stuck" here. I was not content with this life.
But a few years ago I read something that stopped me pretty quickly:
"If you are placing your happiness in the hands of anyone but you, you will ALWAYS be disappointed." So I got to thinking. Maybe instead of it being Chad's fault or Laramie's fault or Chick Fil A's fault, maybe I was the reason everything sucked so much. Maybe it was on me to turn it around.
So I started looking with new eyes. What is great about this place? We don't have to worry about crime hardly ever. There's no traffic. I know how to get everywhere. No google maps needed. Chad's incredible family is here. I love our elementary school. There's nothing better than a college town. Getting to go out of town shopping is a huge thrill since it's rare. We probably save money because we don't go out or shop a ton. I could easily foster my homebody tendencies. It's easy to meet people.
No one cares about the nicest brands or having fancy stuff. So I don't have to either
I trust that our kids are safe.
It takes Chad all of five minutes to come home from work.
People smile at each other.
No one is in a big hurry.
See what I'm saying? Lots of good stuff. And no, I certainly did not love my life overnight when I started this practice. But. The thing is that no one was going to fix this for me. No one was going to rescue me or start building chain stores in a town of 30,000 people. No one was going to save me from grumbling about things that didn't matter that much. It was up to me. I could resent and hate it, or make a way to be happy.
I could get content on purpose. So I took it a step further. What kinds of things do I love? How can I do more of those things?
I started doing projects around the house
I founded a wedding planning firm
I learned to make cream cheese frosting
I sat outside with the sun on my face and tricked myself into believing 45 degrees was warm
I learned to love cooking (and made friends with my Crockpot) (and learned to like hot soups)
I dropped off and picked my girls up from school every single day and smiled at their sweet brown heads bouncing toward me
I hosted girls' nights
I read books
I started recording a slew of nonsense TV shows to watch in my free time
I cleaned whenever I felt like cleaning and learned that I LOVE relaxing in a clean house
I planned dinner parties
I sold my business
I started a magazine
I burned new candles the very day I bought them
I avoided the laundry
I made at least one dessert a week
None of those things are specific to where I live, but they are specific to me loving my life --- to me filling my days with things I enjoy and can look forward to, no matter where I am. No matter how cold it is or who is sick or how many new jeans I don't have in the closet.
And you know what else?
I got real about my problems. I took a hard look in the mirror and realized it wasn't anyone else's fault that I felt the way I did. That was my choice. The circumstances of my life were often out of my control, but the way I chose to move forward wasn't.
I'd still feel small no matter where we lived unless I worked at it.
Henry would be sick whether we lived next to Children's or not. And it is my privilege to take him to doctor's who know what to do.
If I didn't change, I'd always be chasing perfect.
Nothing would be different if I believed no one would have compassion for me.
It wasn't up to anyone else to fix it. There was no one else to blame. These were MY days. And I was ruining them without evening realizing.
So I got real. I invested in a coach and a counselor and started choosing to believe that I had a purpose. And I dreamed.
And did stuff I'd always wanted. Without waiting for the perfect time.
It was in this town of 30,000 people that I launched two successful businesses. It was in this town I gained the courage to speak publicly and share my story with other women. It was in this town that I rode in the backseat toward home with three fresh new babies beside me. It is in this town that we make memories our kids will have forever - including stuffing our faces at a grassy tailgate party with DirecTV and seeing their cousins and grandparents at least twice a week. It is in this town that I've become the woman I am today. It is here that I've learned to love my life.
None of this was ever about the place I lived. It was about choosing. It was about believing I deserved to be happy no matter where and no matter what.
And I am proud of the work I've done to make that happen. It was work. But now it comes more naturally. I instinctively do things I feel like doing. I instinctively love my days more than I used to.
The perfect day isn't going to come. It might happen someday but not because I'm waiting or planning for it. So all I can do is decide to get content with what I have. I have a small-town life. I have three kids and a husband who works hard for us. I have a kitchen where I can try new things. And of course, I always have Amazon Prime.
There's no sense in waiting for someday because someday might not ever arrive.
This might be all there ever is. And it's our job to make sure it's good enough.
We don't know the twists and turns ahead. And we don't get to undo what's happened already. What we do get are the days in between. The days right now. And we get to decide that we'll fill them up with good stuff if it's the last thing we do. Because we deserve that.
We deserve to go to bed tired and smiling and content.
We deserve to dream big dreams and make them happen no matter the circumstances. We deserve to love the real life we have.
And doing that requires a choice.
So are you ready? Ready to stop holding your breath or looking around the corner? Ready to say yes to the dreams in your heart and the life that's waiting outside your head? It's time.
Let's do it together.