Is Content a Four Letter Word?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016
I’m not sure if all of my friends are even aware that I have a previous life. Well, not really, but that’s what we call it. I was once the business woman who said “what a waste” when an intelligent employee with a bright future would decide to be a stay at home parent. I put my emphasis on my title and assumed everyone else lived in the same world I did. Boy how things have changed.

Instead of spending my days in a conference room analyzing legal garble printed on a page, I now change cloth diapers, pull weeds in my garden, read books, and write flowery prose instead of technical manuals. I joke saying, “the old me wouldn’t like the new me anymore than the new me likes the old me.” Now that you have a bit of the back story, you can really appreciate where I’m coming from with today’s post.

My friends often gather for coffee at our house. We enjoy sitting in the sunshine on the patio when the weather cooperates, otherwise you’ll find us around the breakfast nook discussing everything from politics and current events to breastfeeding and baby led weaning. We don’t always agree, but what we agree on is that each of us is valuable and our opinions matter. A particular friend stopped late one morning and the look on her face said it all. For the first time in quite some time, she didn’t have any of her three children (1, 4, 8) in tow. She had just come from a motivational work program. I furrowed my brow as I poured her coffee and added cream. This was not the expression I would expect after a motivational program.

“What’s with the long face? Was the speaker a dud?”

“She wanted us to write down and talk about our goals.”

“Pretty typical, right? So what’s the problem?”

“I feel like a loser. Other people wanted to tour Europe or buy a vacation home. Why don’t I have goals like that?”

I paused and took a long sip of my coffee. I chose my words carefully because this was a make it or break it moment for my friend. I looked right at her and firmly said: “You are living the dream. You aren’t searching for external happiness, because you are content.”

We had a fabulous conversation about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the importance of a healthy family, and how the goals other people mentioned are valid for them, but how she shouldn’t feel bad if her short term goal is getting the pantry organized or finding a reliable childcare provider.

I keep thinking about that day and our conversation. When did being content become a bad thing? We’ve become so goal oriented that I wonder if we as a society have lost sight of what matters. Yesterday morning, I sent my husband a text about my contentment. I don’t need a bigger boat, a faster car, a pay raise, or a bigger house to make me happy. I’m all for having goals, making lists, and moving forward, but when is enough enough?

When do we sit back and enjoy what we have?

When do we simply say Thank You, Life is Good.?

Has CONTENT become the newest 4-letter word?

Weigh-in. What do you think?

Crystal is a church musician, babywearing mama (aka crunchy mama), business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger, Blog Tour Manager with WOW! Women on Writing, Publicist with Dream of Things Publishing, as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin with her husband, four young children (Carmen 9, Andre 8, Breccan 2, and Delphine 1), two dogs, two rabbits, four little piggies, a handful of cats and an abundance kittens (who are available for adoption by the way), and over 230 Holsteins.

You can find Crystal riding unicorns, taking the ordinary and giving it a little extra (making it extraordinary), blogging and reviewing books, baby carriers, cloth diapers, and all sorts of other stuff at: and


Sioux Roslawski said...

First off Crystal, my kids wore cloth diapers too. However, that was 26 years ago (with my youngest).

I think when we contemplate what we have, we have to keep our eyes and our minds turned inward. Pay no attention to commercials and what other people say/have. Keep focused on what is our own true path.

Harry Chapin once wrote, "It's not the goin', but the gettin' there, that's good." The journey, the little things, the small pleasures... that's what is valuable, not the attainment of monetary things.

(And hey! Can I rent out that unicorn to ride? ;)

Margo Dill said...

I love this post. I think goals change depending on our situation. Before becoming a single mom, my goals usually focused on my writing career. Now that I am taking care of a 5 yr old on my own at my house and also caring some for my aging parents, my goals are like: fold the laundry before you go to bed. (True story)

I don't know if I'm content but I know as I've made my life simpler and try to enjoy every moment with my daughter, I often feel peace.

Theresa Boedeker said...

Enjoyed your article. Great thoughts. I sometimes think we are so focused on complaining about our life and what we don't have, that we forget and don't appreciate all that we do have. After all, aren't we always supposed to be chasing our next goal, buying our next item, planning our next year, and improving and bettering our self, home and those around me. It becomes a never ending merry-go-round. I agree, let's just be content sometimes and enjoy the progress we have made so far. And let's not be embarrassed to say we are content and enjoying our life right now.

Crystal Otto said...

Great comments & thoughts! Thank you ALL!!!

Sioux, stop over to ride unicorns anytime you'd like!!

Unknown said...

Nice writing, I thing your a very blessed child.

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