‘Contentment’ differs from person to person. For a friend, it stood for having the best batch of donuts after an incredibly tiring day. I agreed with her; they were the best, but I didn’t necessarily feel ‘content’ at that time, definitely not like her.
Well, my contentment came a few days later.
After two days of continuous night outs, I finally got to be alone the next day. I like being alone, love it actually. But I remember the time when I hated it. I used to look at people hanging out by themselves, drinking coffee or just reading a book… “So sad,” I used to think. “Perhaps nobody wants to hang out with them.” I could never hang out alone; I felt weird and very insecure. I know few friends who continue to feel this way. “I don’t know what I would if I were to be left alone in a room, with nothing to do. I think I would go mad,” said one of them.
But there is beauty in being alone. There is peace when you are by yourself. And contentment is always round the corner when you learn to spend time with yourself.
My day comprised a lot of cleaning, a lot. But I had my content groove on, so everything around me felt like it had been touched with the Photoshop tool ‘Soften’ — dreamy and spilling with a story.
After some time I sat down to read. It was just me in my very big house. From the window I could see the construction labourers from the adjacent building having their lunch. As I turned the pages of ‘Mere Christianity’, I came across a chapter that finally answered some questions that I had been seeking answers for as long as I can remember:
1) Why exactly do people change after couple of years of marriage or dating? Gone are the days of reckless yet romantic gestures. Does that mean that the couple have taken each other for granted?
2) Why does the excitement die? Why doesn’t it feel as thrilling as it used to in the beginning? Is that a sign that the relationship is wrong to begin with? Does that mean I should get out of it and look for new love?
3) What about getting attracted to someone else while one is in a stable relationship? I know it’s wrong, but to feel that way, is it a sign that the present relationship is not providing me the contentment that it should? Will there never be any ‘Happily ever after for me’?
I have always battled with these questions. But never found the answers until today. The excerpt is a little long, but so full of wisdom that you really wouldn’t mind.
People get from books the idea that if you have married the right person you may expect to go on ‘being in love’ for ever. As a result, when they find they are not, they think this proves they have made a mistake and are entitled to a change — not realising that, when they have changed, the glamour will presently go out of the new love just as it went out of the old one.
In this department of life, as in every other, thrills come at the beginning and do not last. The sort of thrill a boy has at the first idea of flying will not go on when he has joined the R.A.F. and is really learning to fly. The thrill you feel on first seeing some delightful place dies away when you really go to live there.
Does this mean it would be better not to learn to fly and not to live in the beautiful place? By no means. In both cases, if you go through with it, the dying away of the first thrill will be compensated for by a quieter and more lasting kind of interest. What is more (and I can hardly find words to tell you how important I think this), it is just the people who are ready to submit to the loss of the thrill and settle down to the sober interest, who are then most likely to meet new thrills in some quite different direction.
The man who has learned to fly and become a good pilot will suddenly discover music; the man who has settled down to live in the beauty spot will discover gardening.
~ Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
These words were my ‘eureka’ moment. Having seen so many relationship where the aforementioned questions are screamed out loud, I was a little confused myself with what is the right and wrong.
But as C.S. Lewis said, “It is just the people who are ready to submit to the loss of the thrill and settle down to the sober interest, who are then most likely to meet new thrills in some quite different direction.”
Love doesn’t always take you on a roller coaster ride; many a times, it takes you down the winding routes, one that might not be as exciting as the others, but will still prove to be thrilling because of the one walking in tandem beside you. You just need to hold on to him/her till death do you two apart.