I’ve been thinking a great deal about contentment recently. Tony & I live a pretty simple life, we don’t have a smart house, our car is reliable but not fancy, we don’t have the latest electronics or gadgetry, and we’re perfectly happy to run Posh Yarn as a small craft enterprise, with no ambitions to develop as the next Koigu or Colinette. We’re very, very contented.
But I haven’t always been that way. There was a time when I was very discontented, always envying other people’s lives and possessions and looks. I would have happily swapped places with half my friends, and I was always lost in ambition and plans for fame and fortune. It is said that the world is full of people looking for spectacular happiness while they snub contentment. I’ve certainly learned that to be true. As I’ve said before, it’s the little things in life that bring us the greatest happiness – if we choose to see them.
The other day I was sitting in my living room knitting. The fire was merrily crackling, I had Handel’s Water Music playing in the background, the room smelled of woodsmoke and the lentil soup that was bubbling away in the kitchen, the cats were entwined on the hearthrug. Some people may think all this very insignificant, even dull, but to me, this is the perfect life. I have a husband I adore, I have a snug little home, I have a wonderful business and many friends, I have my books, and my knitting, and my music. And best of all, I’ve learned to give these ‘little’ things their true value.
I do wish, so much, and especially at this time of year, that more people would come to realise that the key to happiness is contentment. Not having tv means that we miss a great deal of the commercialism in the media; I also stopped buying magazines a couple of years ago, mainly because I was sick of the huge proportion of them that were advertising, often masquerading as editorial. The only adverts I really notice now are the ones on the radio (I listen to Classic FM a lot, which is a commercial radio station) and the ones at the cinema. And that’s more than enough. I do realise that commerce makes the world go round, but must they push things at us quite so violently? It puts me off doing any kind of advertising myself, which is probably very silly of me, but I don’t want to be shoving our goods down people’s throats, and trying to convince you that your life won’t be complete without a cashmere sweater, and that one more skein of sock yarn lies between you and the man of your dreams, and all the rest of that commercial rubbish. But I’m digressing now.
What I really wanted to say was this: don’t let the media, your schoolfriends or workmates, or anyone else influence you into thinking that things will make you happy. They won’t, in fact the converse is often the case. Be content with what you have, learn to value the small things in life and rejoice over them. The grass is not greener on the other side, it’s greenest right here, under your feet. Just stop, take a moment to look down, and you’ll see it.
Here endeth the lesson…..