The Secret

This is the opposite of that other, manifesting secret. 

When I was a toddler-baby my mom would set me down on my diapered ass in the middle of the living room, then go tend to other tasks around the house (it was the late 1970s, you guys). No matter how long she’d been gone, when she returned, I was still sitting nicely in that same exact spot. I’m sure she thought there was something wrong with me (there probably is) but she just went with it because I think that’s kind of a new mother’s dream anyway.

Point being, contentment is natural for me. And I think it’s the secret to a happy life — knowing what’s good, right now.

Before you lose it.

Sorry, I didn’t mean to sound threatening! What I mean is, everything is in flux. Not just the weather or our health, but absolutely everything changes, even if, like me, you remain rooted in one place. Change swirls around us like a storm. Nothing lasts. So when you have something good, recognize it right now and appreciate it in that moment.

I think being content with material things is a pretty punk perspective. Outside of the norm. It’s dangerous. Sellers-of-items do not want you to be content. Contentment harms our economic growth, they would cry. (Is that a fact? Have you tried it? I would counter.)

Descending deeper into darker thoughts… I’m weirdly aware of the rapid advancement of time, and how this means that we’re losing our loved ones and valuable community members at an ever-quickening pace. It feels to me as if I’m trapped in an hourglass, frantically trying to cling to each grain of sand as it slips through my fingers.

We’re losing people who are able to say things like, “I was there when…” — particularly when the event in question occurred roughly seven or eight decades ago. (I just had this thought upon meeting my grandfather’s cousin who told me that she had introduced my grandparents. I am now frantic to talk with her a little more.)

It may be a dark thought, to acknowledge that things change, meaning precious people pass away every day, including perhaps people with keys to your past, you identity, or your family story.

But somehow, this makes me feel all the more grateful for my present.

So as far as I can figure, the secret to a happy life is to know what’s good, right now… before it’s gone.

“With great contentment comes great gain.”

Where did I read that once? In a fortune cookie? In the Bible? Perhaps both.

Feature photo: a dirt road really near the farm where I grew up. I love it here and the fact that most others don’t, makes it even better in my opinion.