Contentment Contract

I’ve been quite a little whiner lately.

I have enough concern with image to be able to coat my complaints with a gloss of socially acceptable humor and the occasional tagline, “Oh, but I know it’ll be all right,” as a sort of ‘Hail Mary’ to cover my bad attitude.

I’ve been living for the day that I have a place to call home, a career, an actual income, and a stable support network, which is an act of complete folly, for I have absolutely no idea if that day will ever come.

Each season of life will carry its own unique trials. 10 years from now, perhaps I’ll be happily settled in Hippietown, USA, with a goat and a garden, but struggling with health complications. Or I could be working overseas, excited to be doing some job I love, but wrestling with the sense of inferiority that comes from being unable to communicate to the locals beyond a 3rd-grade level. Or I could be a foster parent to 12 children, thrilled by the chance to speak into their lives, but frustrated by my interactions with the unjust system.

Or I could be married to Monsieur “Of My Dreams,” living behind a white picket fence with a minivan, a dog, and 2.3 children, with the development of cankles hovering as the greatest concern of my life. (Please, Lord, anything but the cankles!!)

The fact of the matter is, no matter where I am, I will always be able to find an excuse for discontent, if I so choose. And then, when I become senile, all that ugliness will boil over, and my caretakers will be miserable and pick up on that discontent, and I will spawn a whole new generation of discontented grumpypusses like myself.

I don’t want that to happen. I don’t want to be the old lady sitting on her front porch with a shotgun, daring people to disturb my miserable solitude. I want to be the grandma who bakes cookies for the kids in the neighborhood. I want to be a lady who, long after I can physically serve others, chooses to spend my days praying fervently for others.

And if that’s going to happen, I have to develop those skills now. I started it this summer with the month-long gratitude venture, but when times got harder, I let myself slip back into my habits of negativity.

So consider this my contentment contract. I’m not allowed to whine anymore, and when I do, y’all can call me out, and I’ll buy you a Coke, at least until I go broke*, which, considering the rate at which I’ve been complaining, might occur by lunchtime. Deal?

*That’s not a complaint. I don’t think. Maybe. . .uh oh. . .um. . .so do you prefer Coke or Pepsi?

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