The Winter of Our Discontent

What do you need to be content?

That question was recently posed to me by Pinterest or Facebook or Instagram or one of the social media platforms I peruse. (Actually, those three are the only platforms I know how to use. See yesterday’s post.)

Anyway, it’s an interesting question, and one I gave a lot of thought yesterday. There’s no reason I shouldn’t always be content. I have just about everything a person would want out of life. A great family. Nine healthy and happy grandkids. A wonderful husband who’s already shown me the box of candy he’s going to give me for Valentine’s Day, both because I was in a, er, discontented mood and because he has a hard time keeping a secret. Not one but two nice homes– both paid for — so that I can enjoy the best seasons in the best places.

See what I mean? Content should be my middle name. Yet, I’m often rattled. At loose ends. Disgruntled. Crabby. Restless. Darn right sad.

Take the other day when I took Bill for his COVID vaccination. I was positively CONVINCED they would vaccinate me if I smiled nicely and explained that I was his caregiver. Instead, they smiled nicely back at me and said they were so very sorry, but because vaccines are in short supply, they are only giving them to those older than 75. I understood. I still do. Nevertheless, I cried all the way home, and long after that.

At some point, Jen asked me why I was so disappointed. “Are you so afraid of getting COVID?” she asked. It took me most of the day, but at some point, I realized that she was on the right track. I’m not afraid I’ll get the virus. Don’t get me wrong. It could happen. But I’m very careful, I always wear my mask, and my idea of an outing is to the grocery store. The truth of the matter is that even if/when I’m vaccinated, there is still no place to go. I’ll get the vaccine at some point.

Our eldest granddaughter Adelaide is a senior in high school this year. Even Baby Boomers on the older end of the scale remember our senior years. Prom, football games, plays, senior photos, ceremonies. Sadly, many seniors this year aren’t having that same experience. But if I had to describe someone who is content, it would be Addie. Her parents may disagree because undoubtedly she complains to them more than to her nana. Still, she and her siblings and their friends made their own homecoming celebrations. She got senior photos taken. She’s happily working towards a decision as to where she’s going to go to school. She is making the best of it all.

As are ALL my grandchildren. I should use them as my example. Because the truth is, worrying or feeling discontent does absolutely nothing to solve the problem. My rule should be if I can do something to change a situation that I don’t like, I should do it; if I can’t change a thing, I should let it go.

And thanks John Steinbeck for letting me borrow your book title.

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