My mom and I were chatting about a relative who has wished for years to just be alone. That person now lives alone and hasn't been happy about it. It's hard when the house is so quiet. It's boring. There's no one to talk to.
Many people think like that --- I'll be happy when I am married. I'll be happy when I'm divorced. I'll be happy when I have a baby. I'll be happy when my kids are out of the house. I'll be happy when...
That's the thing about contentedness, if you're not content now you won't be content later. When you get what you want, something else will knock and your desire will be aroused for that next item. Then you'll be happy when... again.
Most Americans, perhaps people around the world as well, think of contentedness as a feeling that you don't have any control over. It's a lot like the way people think about love. If you get what you want or if you just meet that perfect person, you will be content or your will just fall in love. If you get what you want, you will then stay content. If you meet that perfect person, you will stay in love.
That's irrational though. Like love, contentedness is a choice. I've written before that we all have to wake up and choose to continue to love our spouses. No one is perfect, and if you go off of feeling, you will fall out of love eventually. If you decide to love someone, no matter what they do or how you feel that day, you will have a long life together and a successful marriage.
Contentedness is the same way. You have to choose to wake up and be content with who you are, where you are in life, where you live and what you have. You may dream, but you don't covet what others have and you don't live for the moment when you are where you want to be and you have what you want. You are where you are today, and you will have a much better life if you accept that and be content with it.
It doesn't sound as good, but we could put it to the words of a popular children's song that started to go through my head the other day --- "I'm content, content, content, content, down in my heart, down in my heart, down in my heart. I'm content, content, content, content, down in my heart. Down in my heart today."