I think one of the chief temptations of the social media age is to get sucked in to social media (and media in general) and allow ourselves to feel that we are missing out. It’s easy to look at social media feeds and think that everyone else is living their ideal life. The phrase “living my best life” is all over the place nowadays. But what is our best life? What’s my best life? What’s your best life? I imagine the answer is different for everyone, so comparison doesn’t make much sense.
Contentment has a lot to do with living well. Learning to find pleasure in simple things makes my day to day life more satisfying. I enjoy my first cup of coffee in the morning. I enjoy sitting in a chair in the barn aisle and listening to the horses munch their dinner. Taking a walk on the beach is all the excitement I need for the day. Once or twice a week I ride my horse and that is thrilling, especially on the beach! That’s enough for me. Those things satisfy me.
I was really unhappy living in the suburbs, so I’m not going to preach that you should just suck it up and be happy with whatever you have. I was unhappy and I made a change. It took 14 years to make that change. I understand the value of delayed gratification. After 14 years of living elsewhere, I am abundantly grateful to finally live where I do.
At the same time, the reason I’m able to live on a remote island with no major chain stores, no shopping, no movie theater, basically nothing to do in the winter when all the tourists go home, is that I have learned to be content with very small things. Treasure and wealth for me would be finding a piece of seaglass on the beach. Fun is walking on the beach on a pretty day. Excitement is getting to ride my horse on the beach.
When you start to notice and be grateful for little things, you begin to enjoy your life so much more than when you compare yourself to other people. It really is an act of the will to practice gratitude. You have to stop and notice and say “thank you.” What are you grateful for in your everyday life? How do you practice gratitude?