In praise of contentment

Liz Sumner Fulfillment, Life Dreams, Self Worth Leave a Comment

My manifesto says, “Do What You Love, Love What You Do, and Stop Doing What You Hate.” What I love to do is putter. And futz. Give me a life of puttering and futzing and I’m deliriously contented.

Merriam Webster defines putter as “to move or act idly; to work at random.” Futz is a Yiddish term meaning waste time; busy oneself aimlessly.

Yeah yeah I’m supposed to be this productivity guru, and it’s true, I’ve had to learn a lot about being productive because my natural inclination is to squander time. (He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches. -GB Shaw).

I run into some trouble when I meet a friend and she asks,
“How are you?” 
“Good.” I say.
“Whatcha been up to?”
“Uhhhh…” (Long pause as I try to think of something worth telling about).

Futzing and puttering don’t lend themselves to good stories. There’s no arc and little character development. There’s an occasional, “I found this great site where you can borrow books online for free” or “I turned an old router into a wireless bridge.” (The latter took me a ridiculous amount of time. It would have been way cheaper just to buy one, but figuring it out it was the ultimate puttering experience). 

These activities also don’t inspire passion, but they delight me. I feel content. I sometimes think I should feel hotter, more dramatic emotions and burning desires. I’m not sure why. Perhaps I believe that passionate people have bigger fame and success (and failure).  Passions are bolder, brighter, more noticeable, more attractive. Less caloric activities aren’t as exciting to tell about.

In my youth I had a taste for extremes– high highs and low lows. I grew out of it.  You could say I mellowed. I prefer to think I lost my appreciation for melodrama.

Contentment may be tepid but it’s comfortable, like a fuzzy slipper or an old sweatshirt that’s been washed so many times it feels like silk. 

Despite my unfulfilled desire to tell good stories I am happy with who I am. There’s a pleasant peace. I have aspirations but I don’t feel pain and longing to achieve them. I trust I will get there.

Photo by wendy domeni from FreeImages. Image inspired by Carnation’s ad campaign “Milk From Contended Cows.” Searching through free image sites is a good example of futzing.

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