I distinctly remember a moment last summer that puts everything into perspective for me. I had just gotten back from a week’s vacation, and instead of swimming in the lake with Finn and David and the rest of my family, I was sitting in a meeting room – one without any windows – listening to everyone else’s to-do list for the week, trying my best to look interested. (I don’t think I pulled that off very well.)
I went back to my desk and tried my hardest to hold back the tears that would inevitably come. I had just come back from vacation! Shouldn’t I feel refreshed and recharged?
I got scolded later that day for not being a team player. Because everyone else had been working the previous week, I should feel grateful to them. I understood the point, but it didn’t matter. It’s not that I didn’t feel grateful, it’s that I felt nothing. I wanted to care more, but I didn’t. And that made me feel worse!
That day at my office was the lowest I had ever been. I blame some of it on pregnancy, but most of it was based on the feeling of wanting more! More time with my family, more purpose in my work, more flexibility.
I had never felt more misunderstood and more alone. I had a great job, I was well-respected there, I made good money… and I didn’t want any of it. Do you know how guilty that made me feel? I often thought about how I should lower my expectations, how people who don’t dream big are happier because they are content with what they have.
It took me almost a year to really understand that “dreaming big” and “being content” are not mutually exclusive. In fact, I would argue that without one, the other is impossible.
A year later, I am working my butt off to start a business, while simultaneously taking care of a six month old. I also have my three year old home with me one or two days a week, and my poor husband gets whatever is left of me. I work early in the morning and late at night. I have had to step outside my comfort zone on a daily basis. Sometimes I don’t shower, I go days without talking to adults besides David, and I spend more time thinking about what I’m doing rather than doing it!
And it’s in this mess that I’ve found true contentment.
I have big dreams – bigger dreams than I talk about on here or Instagram or even with my closest friends and family. But because I allow myself to dream, and most importantly to work towards those dreams, I have found contentment in my life.
It’s quite simple, really. When you remove negativity and you take control of your time, the days seem less hectic. You start to think about where you are going to be six months or a year from now. You start thinking of the little things you can do today that will get you there. You stop resenting the people around you and you find beauty in the little things. You take better care of your body, you pay attention to your finances, you start happening to your life rather than just letting life happen to you. You become content with the person you are.
I don’t suggest that everyone go quit their job in order to become content, but I do recommend allowing yourself to dream. A year ago, I was dreaming of being a business owner, spending time with my babies, and really going after something that I had thought about for years. Now, that’s my reality. That day in the office really shined a light on how little I was doing to make my life what I wanted.
Today, I’m dreaming big about my future and feeling content about my present. What is it in your life that’s going to get you feeling the same way?