THEORY: Content

Growing up, we are taught two opposing things:

1. Be contented with what you have.
2. Never be contented. 

For years, no one ever pointed out (to me, at least) that this contradiction was going to be a problem. Well, some may have noticed it early on but no one ever actually clarified (again, to me, at least) how we were going to live by these two ideals at the same time without going crazy. Well, those two ideals finally collided tonight and I'm trying to recover from the explosion. 

How can I be ever contented with what I have? I mean, especially with where I am now, discovering the world for the first time on my own with new found financial freedom, how can you expect me to just be contented? Two years ago I couldn't book myself a plane ticket. I couldn't even afford an out of town trip without any help from my parents. Fast forward to two years of work and surviving (well, technically I still rely on my parents for the life essentials) through my own money, I have booked more than one ticket in the past quarter alone. Imagine, I have two more trips lined up this year and I'm still itching to book another! With that fast a climb on the financial capacity scale, the expectations have climbed even faster. I can't help but feel that everything is and should be within reach given the short time it took for me to go from zero to well, more than zero. I can't help but feel that everything is possible and that I just have to find a way to make it happen. If I become contented, it feels like I'm wasting so much potential growth, success, experiences, and many, many more. 

Of course, never being contented gets exhausting. Then it becomes frustrating. Then it ultimately ends with bitterness and sadness. Never being contented is just another way of placing your happiness side by side with the horizon - it will aways be out of reach. 

Don't get me wrong. I want to be contented. I want to be happy. I want to stop thinking of what could be and start appreciating what is. Actually, I used to be that way. I would value everything I had and would be very hesitant to spend whatever I am able to earn in fear of spending it on something I don't really need. I mean, why should I buy anything more than what I need when I'm already so contented with how I'm getting by? It was a long time since I didn't constantly yearn for something more but I remember vaguely that I was more carefree and definitely happier. 

But then again, once you've opened your eyes, there's no way to unsee what has been seen. I know what's out there and I know that I can (well, try to) get there. I know I will have to scramble from payday to payday to afford this kind of lifestyle of always wanting more but it's so hard to live life any other way. I want to save. I want to be able to breather easy even if it's been more than a week since the last pay check. I want to feel confident that should there be an emergency, I've got myself covered. But it's so easy to talk about savings and the future and stability than actually living it. It's even harder when I look around and see people who did those things and see that they haven't even stepped foot into this world I'm now experiencing. I can't help but feel very, very sad for them. I don't look down on them like I'm better though. Let's have that one clear. I look at them with so much regret. Sayang. Such a waste. They've spent so many years (none of which they can get back) making sure that five years from now they would be exactly where they are, when they could have been making this year something they'd be looking back to five years from now. 

I'm sounding so preachy now and I want to slap myself for it. But I'm actually just preaching all of this to myself. I am very confused. I know that I should be saving and should be learning to get by with the essentials but I also want to grab opportunities as they come. I know I should be contented but I also feel that I shouldn't be. Either way I miss out on something. Either way I get frustrated. Both ways will make me unhappy. 

With that point, maybe the question all this time shouldn't be about what makes us happier rather what makes us less sad. I guess that's a more realistic question. Then again, it didn't make deciding between the two any easier. 

So, to be contented or not to be contented? That is the question [I will sleep with tonight].

No comments: