Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Okay, so ambitionlessness isn't a word. But contentment definitely is. After reading the comments on my last post, I was reminded of this story. There are several versions of it on Youtube, but this is my favourite, just because I like the music, and the narrator doesn't have an annoying voice.

I suppose we all define success in different ways... but I get the feeling that too many of us let the lifestyles of the Rich and Famous dictate to us what success looks like. And that false ideal makes us unhappy because we'll never look like those celebrities on the Golden Globe catwalk. We won't have their fabulous possessions and piles of money. We won't receive the applause and adulation that they do... 

But really, who is happier? The folks who run from the papparazzi, or the ones who read their magazines? The mom who kisses her kids goodnight, or the actor on a film set in Paris, far away from family? My husband with his reliable commuter car, or the sports celebrity with so many vehicles that he can't count them all? The musician who sings on a different stage every night, or the teenager bopping down the street, sharing her iPod earbuds with her best friend? I guess it all depends on how you define happiness and success.

For a while there, after I started my moodlings, I thought it would be great if I could have a huge crowd of followers from all over the world to indicate that I was a successful blogger. I read accounts of how other people became famous in the blogworld, and I looked at popular blogsites to see if I could pick up any tricks or tips. There were plenty of people offering all sorts of advice about everything to do with increasing readership... most of which suggested following other people's blogs and commenting on them, so that they would look up my moodlings and comment in return, all of which seemed silly and meant spending way more time in front of my computer. 

Which is the last thing I want to do, because it's totally counter to living simply and happily according to my definition, and the fisherman's definition. Why catch more fish than you can eat and share with your neighbours? Why try to attract readers I don't know, when the ones I do know visit me now and then?

I wrote most of this moodling yesterday... then this morning, Henri Nouwen's daily reflection arrives in my inbox, another one of those God-incidences:

Often we want to be somewhere other than where we are, or even to be someone other than who we are. We tend to compare ourselves constantly with others and wonder why we are not as rich, as intelligent, as simple, as generous, or as saintly as they are. Such comparisons make us feel guilty, ashamed, or jealous. It is very important to realize that our vocation is hidden in where we are and who we are. We are unique human beings, each with a call to realize in life what nobody else can, and to realize it in the concrete context of the here and now.

We will never find our vocations by trying to figure out whether we are better or worse than others. We are good enough to do what we are called to do. Be yourself!

Just being myself and living in contentment is very freeing. I think I'll go and read some more Don Quixote now. It's actually quite entertaining.

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