Well, I knew I was struggling with last week's post. I re-read it and realized that it totally sounded the way you all took it. But I wasn't intending to refer to extra interests really. I was trying to talk about true purpose in life. Things we are meant to do and accomplish in this life. If you are religious, I'm talking about what the Lord wants you to do. So, I'll try to compose a much better post on that topic in the future. And you can all think about it and have some super power comments when it comes. But maybe last week's post was just supposed to be the way it was.
On to this week's topic!
I've been doing really well, as far as the depression goes, for several months now. When we decided to move to our new location, I was really concerned that I was going to face that demon once again. In fact, I was struggling quite a bit to convince myself to believe that it was not inevitable--that I could just adjust to being so far from my friends and family and just settle in happily. But I wasn't sure which side was winning that battle when the moving date arrived.
And then the kids were sick and we were all fighting and completely miserable. And I knew that I was indeed going to face the depression. It lasted all of half a day.
I'm not saying that life has been one bouncing bubble out here, but most days I find myself marveling a bit at how happy I really am here. That's not to say that I don't miss everyone we left behind. But even so, I haven't once wished to move back.
You might think that "marvel" is kind of an odd word for me to use. But it's true. I really am baffled by it. Not that I'm bothered by it. I'm just really surprised.
So, I've been pondering what exactly has made me so happy here, so I could share it here with you. A part of it is that the environment here is a great fit for us. It's very family-friendly and fitness-oriented.
But there is more to it. I think I've finally put a finger on at least a part of it. And that is simply that this is the first time in our married life that I haven't been looking toward the next move. When we were first married, I was looking forward to graduating and then going east for my HH's summer internship. Pretty much as soon as we got there, I was looking forward to going back to the west. Then we got back and I couldn't wait to move back to New England. This time I knew I'd be happy because we were going to buy a house.
Well, we got to New England and buying a house didn't feel right. And we knew we wouldn't stay there long because we were far from all of our family except my parents. So, I began focusing on our next move away from there. I knew I'd be happy whenever we moved. One of my good friends and I had a joke that I was always moving "next year". Because that was the plan for a few years, but each time "next year" finally came the move didn't work out and we'd decide to stay another year.
Now we're here. And my children could potentially go to high school here. Not because it's the best place on the planet, but because we have no plans for moving. It's possible something could go wrong and we could move in a year, but we aren't planning on it. We're planning on staying here for a long time.
So that's where my focus is. I once hear a quote about being prepared to leave any day, but still planting cherry trees. That quote is a little out of context, but it still applies. We had cherry trees in our backyard in the house I grew up in. Those trees had been there longer than we had, I believe, and they were still just starting to bear fruit. They take a LONG TIME to cultivate. The truth is, I doubt any of us can really know where we'll be a year from now--life is just unpredictable. But I do believe that we're happier when we "put our roots down", so to speak.
I'm focusing on all that our new community has to offer and making new friends as we go. When we get caught up in the habit of always looking to the future and saying, "I'll be happy when...", we never seem to find it. That's because it's just that, a habit. If you can't be happy with the fundamentals, nothing new will bring that happiness to you.
That's what hit me after being depressed for half a day after moving here. I realized (with help from the Holy Ghost, as I was sitting in church) that the only thing about my situation that I had control over was my attitude. Being grumpy and angry couldn't help unpack our boxes, enlarge our apartment, make my kids healthy, or anything else. Being happy couldn't help make those things happen either. But it could help us all enjoy the time a lot more.
Does anyone else feel like so many of these posts come back to the same basic principles time and again? That the real way to access abiding joy is to simply choose joy? Interesting.
Anyway, back to the original point. You have to be content with whatever you have, wherever you are in order to live joyfully. Nothing else will accomplish that for you.
Any tips on how to accomplish that? I wish I would have realized that sooner. I could have appreciated beautiful New England a lot more if I had accepted that. Has anyone else experienced this? How do you find contentment even when you're not in your ideal place? How do you live like you're settled in for the long haul, even when you aren't?