Contentment, That’s Contentious

The intent is to be content. Attitude of gratitude, as an old schoolmate reminded me today. He is richest when content with the least, Socrates apparently said. Contentment is a product of our attitude towards our circumstances. And when we are mindful of what we have rather than what we don’t have, that delivers thankfulness to how we feel about our circumstances. When I look out of my dusty, water stained windows, do I see the need to clean them or do I see the unkempt garden? The roses need pruning, the mandarin tree is hungry for its winter dosage of citrus fertiliser, the snow pea seedlings need to be spread out? Thankfully I remind myself I have a garden. I suddenly hear the happy songs the birds sing, I can even imagine the busy white butterflies that visit here in Spring. Winter isn’t so cold anymore, the dark clouds no longer hide the sun from me. It is how we think that brings us happiness. For me, it’s also about thinking that everyday is a Friday. TGIF, as we exclaim every Friday! For many, Fridays is a ledger of life. They worked hard all week, Friday is a pay day, not necessarily in monetary terms but a reward nevertheless. They have a weekend ahead to celebrate life, seek fun, joy of sex, whatever. Since a year ago, I began to think of everyday as a Friday. Was it Lao Tzu who said ” Health is the biggest treasure, contentment the greatest wealth and faithfulness the best friend”? Or maybe it was Buddha. A quote that rings long and loud for me is the one attributed to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn ( had to google for spelling), he said “we are happy as long as we choose to be happy”. Happiness is a state of mind. In my pursuit of happiness, it’s when I pause that I find contentment.

But, contentment is contentious. Ten weeks ago, before I started blogging, I consciously and mindfully told myself not to harbour any expectations. It wouldn’t matter if no one reads my blogs. It will not disturb me, nor should it, if my words fall on deaf ears and my ill-developed and sometimes impulsive opinions do not distract or disturb. For me, blogging is a selfish act. The audacity of putting down in writing my thoughts and ideas is less frightening with the resignation that they will be too uninteresting to garner much attention from readers. I would be foolish to be hopeful for any reaction, even ones laced with acidity. Blogging inculcates a discipline of deliberate focus on the topic, and forces the unending quest to search for better vocabulary. A very good medicine to help ward off Alzheimer’s. Prior to blogging, newly discovered words were forgotten within minutes. The minutest distraction was a subtraction to my words library. I am already reaping many benefits from this simple hobby.

Contented with a low readership, I carried on writing, with Thoreau’s butterfly on my shoulder. But, one day Liu Xin caught my attention and my blog about her debate with Trish Regan earned “stratospheric” hits. Subsequently, Sophie’s Choice broke the record, being the biggest hit for me. With that, contentment is replaced by commitment to improve, a new endeavour to savour another bigger hit. Contentment is my new resentment, I’m now scrambling for more content! Seriously, this is contentious.

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