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…..

17 thoughts on “Contentment

  1. A lovely post Dee. Only one slightly off note from me – I was content, very, very content. The problem was the other half was not – and left 3 months ago. Light is (very slowly) beginning to shine at the end of the tunnel and reading your post just confirmed it. Thank you. 🙂

  2. Dee, my best friend gave me a fridge magnet some years ago when things were tough, which says “the best things in life are not things”. I’m still trying to get to that place, mind you, but it’s a helpful daily reminder.

  3. and so say al of us :o) Because of my work I see lots of people who are in a mess of one sort or another and I have in the past been in messes of my own *rolls eyes* All of this just confirms for me that what other people might consider a boring life is for me a quiet and contented one, who wants excitment? Not me, give me boring every day, fireside, knitting, good music and great company that you don’t have to work at, ah … bliss!

  4. Wow. You made things click into place for me just like that – just by reading your words. Thank you. You are a truly an inspiration. God Bless.

  5. What a beautiful post! Funnily enough I was sitting knitting infront of the fire with our 2 cats on the sofa just the other day having similar thoughts (I had Cranford on the telly rather than Classic FM on the radio 🙂 )

  6. You’re so right Dee. There’s nothing wrong with dreams but they distract us from the present and living in the present moment….a moment like it won’t come by again. The other path to contenment is to give yourself away, rather like you have with this post!

  7. At the end of the day, it’s nice to have “things” – my Posh Yarn stash, for example, but only to the extent that they fuel the pleasure I get out of living – Dee – what you describe sounds idyllic – and I am never happier than when I am sitting knitting, or away in the world of a book, warm and safe, with Jon and Holly the cat surrounding me. It’s nice to be able to have nice things – making, and giving or wearing something “Posh” gives me a lot of pleasure, but at the end of it all, I could live without that – but would have great difficulty without my family. I’m very lucky, and I know it!

  8. Although my parents never managed to incorporate a business into their lifestyle, reading your post was very evocative of my childhood, echoing strongly with the approach to life that I grew up with.

    It took me straight back to my parent’s house with its wood burning stoves, no TV, classical music / Radio 4, shelves groaning with books, chickens scratching outside the back door, a couple of jacob sheep knocking about, a spag bol sauce simmering happily on the rayburn all afternoon, the house full of art and textiles stuff (even natural dying things at one point) etc.

    Simple, yet also very rich in its own way – a massive influence on me, my interests, my values and my own home (albeit I live in less than idyllic surroundings in West London).

    My parents are still happy, they maintain the same kind of outlook that you mention and a smiliar sort of lifestyle (even though it is a lot less less rural now). Bottom line – agreed, it works.

  9. Wise words Dee. Particularly I believe it is important for us all find what it is that makes us content. Different for all of us, you have described my childhood.Even though London has its challenges the fact that it is different from my early years appears to be important for me. I have moved back twice and just couldn’t settle.

  10. Thank you for your thoughtful words today. I am going to have my 11 and 13 year old children read your post so they can see that as it is in our home, there are other people living life as it should be. No wonder the Posh Yarn colours are so lovely – they are created in a home filled with the gentle, peaceful spirit that truly brings about the most creative art.

  11. You have made my day Dee! Thank you for those thoughtful words! Now if only we could see them on every advertising billboard in the world! Esp. America!!

    Much love to you this holiday season and always!


  12. Funnily enough, I have been thinking about the similar thing lately. Living in Englad for 12 years as a foreigner, especially living in Surrey, sometimes makes me wonder why people are so materialised. It is quite a challenge to live simple even in deep down I know what is most important for me. I am turning forty in ten days have two children and lovely hubby, but sometimes still confused. Well, life begins forty someone says!

    I am so looking forward to receive your yarn (hopefully tomorrwo) and will be very happy to feel and knit with them and will be thinking of you and contentment.

  13. In U.S. we have just celebrated Thanksgiving. Your comments reflect much of what Thanksgiving is all about. I believe that our memories and our lives are ultimately measured by small moments of happiness. I always feel that when I am old and gray, what I will remember most vividly will be those golden moments. Not the big screen TV, or the promotion, or even some victory, just that moment of contentment, surrounded by those I love.