The Oxford English Dictionary defines contentment as the “action of satisfying” or the “process of being satisfied.” Technically, contentment can come at any age. One can be content with a project accomplished and a job well done, but I am thinking about feeling satisfied with life overall. From the vantage point of age 68, I don’t understand how anyone could be content at 30 because of all the unknowns and possibilities ahead. For me, contentment has come with age.
I was never content when I was younger because I believed there was more to come, both joy and sorrow. Over my years, I experienced great moments of happiness: marrying my husband, giving birth to our daughter, success with my chosen career. Yet contentment is different from happiness. Happiness is a high excitement, a thrill, and joy in a moment, whereas contentment is a more placid emotion. Contentment, I think, requires a very strong sense of self and belief that you are fundamentally OK that would not have been possible when I was younger. (read more…)