Ever since we rearranged the house, I’ve been spending a lot of time in our new sitting room. I don’t know if it’s the quality of the light coming in the window, or the view of the road running past our house, but with a cup of tea and a good book, I’m happy to sit there for hours on end.
It Doesn’t Really Matter
And it’s not that the room is ‘finished’ or perfectly decorated. It could really use a fresh coat of paint. And most of the furniture is cast-offs from my parents’ house. Not the sort of look that immediately springs to mind when you say the phrase “my favourite room”.
I don’t really know why it is, and it doesn’t really matter, I just know that I go in there and immediately start to feel good. This sense of contentment wells up and I just soak it in.
I feel less and less like I need to do anything, less and less anxious to go shopping for those finishing touches or to do the sorts of things that used to nag at me in my quiet moments, the sorts of home-improvement, self-improvement, world-improvement projects that may or may not actually do anyone any good at all.
No, lately I’ve just been sitting quietly, feeling content.
And it strikes me that this, this feeling of contentment is what “they” really don’t want anyone to feel.
Because it takes away the urge to fix and do and buy. The urge to consume.
It’s not just the marketers who want us not to know contentment. Politicians, religious leaders, self-help gurus and financial advisors. They all want to keep it a secret, this peaceful, happy, relaxed feeling. This feeling of plenty, this feeling of contentment.
It Doesn’t Come From Perfection
Because, once you have it, once you’ve experienced it and you know that you can’t buy it or build it, that it doesn’t come from perfection or from fixing or doing or having. Well, once you really know that, all bets are off. All you really want is to go on being content. And they, all those marketers and politicians and religious leaders have no more power over you because you know and they know that they have nothing that you want.
So my recommendation, if you want to lower your level of consumption, is to find ways to raise your level of contentment. Drink your tea from your favourite mug. Admire the late-afternoon sunshine on your kitchen table. Snuggle up with someone you love and just soak it all in.