Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?
New Year's Eve is a day reserved for elaborate celebrations with friends and family. That's precisely why my three closest friends and I planned to go to NYC and enjoy a lavish dinner and each other's company. Unfortunately, we overlooked one very large obstacle: our absolute aversion to any sort of planning. Our lack of reservations led to what we now refer to as "The Wait". The chilling wind did nothing to help our situation and two of us had decided against the use of jackets. It was in this time, while we all inched towards hypothermia, that the quietest of us, Rich, said "Wow, are we really this stupid?". The effect of this innocent comment was immediate. We all began to laugh hysterically, wheezing and gasping for air along the way. That one wry comment on the seeming endlessness of our stupidity warmed us more than any coat could. It melted away our unhappiness. And I can assure you, upon finding out that reservations were needed on New Year's Eve none of us expected the evening to end well. But one casual joke simplified the situation. We were four friends outside enjoying each other's company. That was a moment of pure contentment and it wasn't because of the surroundings or the place; it just happened. We did not go out expecting that moment of happiness, and yet somehow, despite all the negatives, we chanced upon it.
Now I recall this story not because tales of my misfortune are amusing (although I imagine they are), but instead to illustrate a point. Contentment is a concept held in such high regard, almost a thing of fantasy. Lives are spent searching for it, but it seems ever elusive, like food to the starving. It is in precisely this age, in which our lives appear to be dictated by the next bill, test, or command, that we crave contentment so much. It is a treasure that taunts us with offers of peace and bliss. People go their entire lives without fully experiencing those feelings and it is that very thought of lost happiness that drives people to seek contentment out. Because of its immeasurable importance and rarity I believe that there is no set location or environment where contentment can be found. If the piano took one lesson to learn would we be able to respect the music that it creates? In the respect, if contentment could be found up the stairs or across the street how could it possibly be the moment of perfect tranquility that is dreamt of? The force that drives poets to silence and philosophers to confusion cannot be controlled so easily. I would go further and say that it is illogical to be able to find perfect contentment based on one's surroundings. It is too valuable a treasure, too elusive a mistress, to simply be found in one's favorite bookshop or restaurant. Instead the best things in life are the beautiful mistakes that we stumble into.
What I am trying to show through my tangents and musings is that, for me, contentment is not something to be sought out because it cannot be found. It is not something I plan or bottle up and store for a rainy day, but instead it is a force out of my control. That New Year's Eve started out as the farthest thing from our planned, perfect night, and yet I have the sneaking suspicion that we were happier outside in the relentless wind, than we ever could have been in an elegant dinner. While I cannot summon these moments at will, I can cherish the times when I come across it. There is no need to endure a tireless search for contentment. Instead, I am happy to live in the moment and walk down my path, knowing that I will encounter contentment again.