Contentment as selfish: Myth-busting

A while ago I was puzzling over the oddness of having contentment be a form of discomfort. As with a lot of things, this dynamic has roots both in the twisted human psychology and plain old daily life.

I have strong attractions to specific things, and I imagine that was true of me as a kid. I’m drawn to things I like and love and savor, and the flip side, I reject – sometimes vehemently – things that offend my sensibilities. I love simple, interesting, quirky, beautiful, odd things. I like shapes. I get bored by boring things and I despise ugly things and places. I know, doesn’t everyone? Probably, but I managed to suppress my rejection of these things, I think because it didn’t seem permissible. You accepted what you got, and you didn’t have any power to change things — this went for kids but also for adults (as far as I can tell).

My mom was of the opinion (again, as far as I can tell) that one must not be attached to the things one wants. Continue reading


It’s Friday. They happen! So damn often.

In the first several weeks after I quit alcohol, Fridays were hard. In my starts and stops before this quitting thing got some momentum, Fridays were such a weak spot. Done with the week, time to let loose. Everyone else seemed headed for “happy” hour. I should get to go for my beer, too.

It was dismayingly easy for the little addict in my head to find the logical reason why we should partake. We deserved it. Everyone else was doing it, and look, it didn’t cause problems for them. (She has something of an evidence-assessment problem.) Just letting down once a week isn’t damaging. God, you’re such a black-and-white thinker.

She was relentless and clever, and she usually won. Continue reading

Feel funky, buy self beautiful new cup to match

I can feel I’m in something of a different space these days. Feeling different tugs and a different sort of stability. The tugs are… odd.

My partner and I spent two hours with a couples therapist on Friday, something we’d been looking forward to for quite a while. Our “2%” of tangling and pushing eachother’s buttons has been plaguing us for, well, years. The therapist came highly recommended Continue reading

Day 104: Distance to contentment

I meant to post on day 100 and then things got busy. This is a milestone for me. I am feeling buoyed by the three digits!

A voice asked yesterday, are you contented? A funny question, because I’m so aware of my dissatisfaction. Always, it seems, something is lacking. I am concerned. I’m frustrated or worried. I feel I’m behind. Things take too much time and I’m impatient.

As I looked inside, though, there was also no real reason not to say “yes” to the contentment question. But it lingers Continue reading


Dinner last night: high-end restaurant on Lake Erie, nine dressed-up academics, five glasses of red wine, three of white, and me.

I feel lucky that I don’t have a lot of drinking buddies, and therefore my not-drinking doesn’t look weird hardly anywhere. (A “benefit” of drinking alone…) I have a couple of friends with whom I regularly go out for a beer, and both of them care not a whiff that I’m drinking fake beer now. (One I thought might, but she doesn’t seem to.)

So it came as a surprise to find myself sitting around this table last night with the eight of them Continue reading