Friday, July 15, 2011

The Definition of Contentment

Being a planner by nature, I'm always planning for the next thing.  Most times this results in me not actually enjoying what I have in front of me, in the present.  I can't say there has been one single time when everything has gone according to plan.  Still I continue to plan.

After much evaluation, I think the reason I plan so much is because I have this inherent drive to succeed.  Try as I do, I cannot sit back and just let life happen.  I feel having some plan is better than just winging it.  I'm sure the true "live in the moment" sort of people will disagree with me because planning for the future takes away from living in the day.  And for those who believe in destiny and fate, well, we all know that everything comes from God and gets taken away by Him.  So then it doesn't really matter how much you plan, you do (or do not) get only that which is in your destiny.

Having acknowledged that, I am trying to learn to live in the day, whether or not things go according to my plan.  My first opportunity came yesterday.

Back in February, I registered (and paid upfront) Camran for swimming lessons to keep him busy over the summer break.  Half hour swimming lessons everyday for 8 weeks, for a total of 80 lessons.  I planned it in such a way that he would start at Level 1 and pass each level and so by the end of the summer would have completed Level 4 (a proficient enough swimmer).  I didn't take the time to actually read the curriculum... I just assumed that by going everyday, he would definitely pass each level.  Also, the fact that he's been taking preschool lessons since he was 3.

Then destiny, fate or God took over, reminding me, once again, that my plans were worth nothing.

Camran didn't pass Level 1.

This threw a solid wrench in my plans for him being a super swimmer by the end of the summer.  Camran, of course, was undeterred that he had to repeat the level.  For him, passing the course was less important than the opportunity to actually swim everyday.  That, my friends, is the essence of life.  The difference between a pure 6 year-old mind and that of a control freak Aries adult.

I had to take a step back.  Sure, he wouldn't be swimming laps by September, but he was having a blast each day.  Instead of looking at 6 weeks into the future, I needed to look at what was happening today.  Instead of dwelling on the things that he didn't achieve, I needed to see the things that he did achieve. 

My contentment comes from watching Camran jump around in the pool, dunk his head under, splash around with his new friends.  I always thought that if you were content, you would stop striving for better.  Now I see that contentment is not about remaining stagnant... rather it's about appreciating all experiences - good and bad.  It's about being positive and looking at the glass half full.  It's about looking at mistakes as opportunities for improvement.  Contentment doesn't mean being happy all the time.  Contentment does mean being satisfied.  Being able to live under any circumstances.

I'm going to enjoy the journey because the summer of 2011 will never happen again.  That is about the only thing that I can be truly sure of.

At the end of the day, I didn't have to worry about Camran repeating Level 1 because his instructor passed him.  He will be starting Level 2 on Monday.  But the quasi-failing grade was a real eye-opener for me.

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