Tag Archives: contentment

Couch Contemplations

This is my couch.

couch

I tried to water that fake tree once. Go me!

There are times I’m convinced we’re dating, as we spend our weekends and weeknights together. There’s nothing I look forward to more than hanging out with some snacks and reading, writing or watching TV—just me and my couch.

I’m not telling you this so that you realize how pathetically happy I am dating my couch and consequently feel better about yourself—although that most certainly will happen as well—but because buying that couch three years ago kind of  “represents” something today.

Let me explain.

When I bought my house and had to buy a couch. Everyone told me to take my time, hit at least half a dozen stores to compare price and styles and then spend 1,000 hours online trying to find a better option and a better deal (only slightly exaggerating.)

I saw this couch at the second store. It matched my new paint, the ends reclined with foot things that came out and the price was about what I expected. I bought it with no second thought. My thinking was that if it was what I liked, there was no point in searching for something better. It was good enough.

In other words, I didn’t want any more options.

While I like options and the choice to choose, most of the time I’m okay sticking with things I know I like—with satisfied—something I think is overlooked (and even looked down upon) in today’s society.  If you’re not constantly striving for the “new and improved” or the next greatest thing, you’re told that you’ll be left behind.

But with so many options for what to read, what to write, what to eat, what to wear, what to buy, it seems that no matter what decision you make, there will be a million reasons to doubt it and a million reasons to justify it.

paintsamples

Do we really need 457 different shades of blue, Home Depot?

Even if you’re happy with your decision, the introduction of more options often invites doubt and insecurity that while what you have might be okay,  it’s not as exciting as something else.  Pretty soon you adapt to that initial excitement and it just becomes expected, meaning you’re always looking for something else.

If that’s the case, when can you enjoy the things you have?

For me, worrying about whether something better is out there—because there is always something better out there— and second-guessing my decisions takes away any pleasure I get from what I already have.

So despite the incredulous look from the salespeople, I was okay with buying a new phone that only lets me talk and text. 

Despite everyone telling me that along with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, I need to be on StumbleUpon, Pinterest, Google +, Foursquare, Digg and still find time to write every day—you have to write every day, right?— while reading a bunch of other blogs in a Google Reader or an RSS feed (or whatever other technical thing I don’t know what I’m talking about,) I’m okay with sticking to a couple options.

The issue is that even trivial decisions become important if we believe these decisions reveal something significant about ourselves, if we think we’ll be judged by what we decide—even if it’s just judging ourselves, as is often the case with me.

The truth is, we probably will be. But if I compare my decisions with the results of others, I’m less likely to be satisfied with what I have, which was what I wanted at the time.

This doesn’t mean I don’t have goals or that I’m shut off from “new and improved” versions of things—especially versions of myself. But sometimes seeking out more options simply means more stress and less satisfaction, more energy spent on complicating things that could be energy spent on something else.

So I keep an open mind about options, but that means my mind is also open to the possibility that what I already have might just be good enough.

And instead of worrying about the next great thing to come along, I simply enjoy the things that I presently have—usually on my couch.

couch2

We’re very happy together.

Reflections

What do you see when you look in the mirror?

An image of hope, maybe eyes tinged with fear?

When I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror,

I’m often surprised at what tends to appear.

The image reflected looks nothing like me,

At least not the me that I want you to see.

The angles are sharp and the features jut out,

The eyes appear tired and full of self-doubt.

Hair that once shone is now showing the wear,

Of numerous struggles  I’ve forced it to bear.

I feel like an outsider just looking in,

At somebody else who is fragile and thin.

While I know who I am and that inside I’m strong,

This foreign reflection I feel proves me wrong.

The kicker it seems is I couldn’t care less,

how others might look or how others might dress.

Yet I always assume that I’m judged by my size,

by my clothes that don’t fit and the size of my thighs.

Even if inside I know I don’t care,

what somebody thinks of my body or hair,

Part of me wants them to see me as more,

as someone with talents and thoughts to explore.

If I never caught sight of the external me,

of this physical presence I’ve since come to be,

Would I do more with friends and not doubt their intent,

or wonder again what that last comment meant?

If this image stayed hidden and out of my sight,

would I think I should stay home for not looking right?

Of course, there’s that small part of me that is vain,

that wants a real ass and toned legs back again.

Who doesn’t like compliments on how they look,

when others take notice of steps that you took?

But the image reflected and what causes pain,

has nothing to do with ideals to obtain.

It’s not about pleasing the eyes of some guys,

or having somebody approve of my size.

Despite what is thought it has never been that,

I’ve never seen myself as pudgy or fat.

If I could dig out of this hole that I’ve created,

and drop all these habits I’ve long since berated,

I feel like my outside could match what’s within,

a spirit that’s light and not one who’s just thin.

I’m confident things will get better some day,

but my actions speak louder than words that I say.

Each day I try but some days I slip back,

turning to exercise, skipping a snack.

We all have our habits and vices to break,

smoking or drinking or risks that we take.

Things that we hope will distract us appeal,

more than things that we know we just don’t want to feel.  

There’s much more to everyone else than the look,

reflected in mirrors or in pictures they took.

I just want my outside to match what’s inside,

a sense of contentment, occasional pride.

A strong ear that hears and does actually care,

shoulders that help hold the burdens you share.

Sarcastic yet willing to give you my heart,

(But often reluctant to show off that part.)

The scars will prove how many battles I’ve owned,

not just with myself but with all that life’s thrown. 

What do you see when you see me today,

A girl who’s too skinny and wasting away?

Or someone who might just be dealing with more,

than she lets on each day or just hopes you ignore?

It’s not about looks or how things may appear,

as we open the page on another new year,

My goal for the year is the same that it’s been,

each hour and day all through 2010.

Deal with the struggles I face every day,

with courage and strength that I will be okay.

Reflect on the things that can bring me a smile,

a talk with a friend or just writing awhile.

The simplest things make me happy—that’s clear,

and I wish that for others this upcoming year. 

But I also reflect on my health and that look,

that I saw in the mirror with each glance that I took.

I want my reflections to match up at last,

not feeling regret for the time that has passed.

So when I catch a glimpse of myself  here next year,

I want to be proud of what person appears.

The image reflected will still look like me,

But this time the me that I want you to see.

This time the me that I know I can be.