I’ve written about contentment in the past. I’ve talked about how I feel guilty for complaining about anything in life when I’m aware of how privileged I am and how good I have it.
When my friends and I whine about our lives, it’s usually about something as petty as the slow-moving line at Chipotle or the fact that our crappy Wi-Fi shifts us from HD to standard in the middle of a Game of Thrones episode. Oh, the horror.
But right now things are really good. Eerily good. And it’s causing me some serious anxiety.
When my friend circle is solid, and my family is healthy and happy, and my career feels on track, and my love life is better than I ever could have imagined, I feel like I’m perched at the edge of a cliff waiting for something shitty to happen that bumps me over the edge. Splat.
As soon as you acknowledge your contentment, are you jinxing it? Is a public declaration of your perfect life the ultimate means to its undoing?
I spend my days half trying to savor every moment and half terrified that everything I’m reveling in is about to end. My luck can’t last forever, right?
When I ride the metro home in the evenings, I hold my breath as the train inches between stations, paranoid that the ceiling will cave in at any moment.
I fear that my ordinary neighborhood jog will turn catastrophic and I’ll get hit by a car and paralyzed from the neck down.
I worry that my proximity to DC’s government buildings means we’re all toast should the worst happen…
We’ve only got one body and one lifetime and I feel this overwhelming urgency to make the most of every second. And I’m trying to appreciate it, I am, but sometimes it’s like the very act of practicing gratitude diminishes the thing that is worth feeling grateful for in the first place.
So I relax. And I breathe. And I live.
And, I guess, I write.
As with most things, it must come down to moderation. Everything is a balancing act.
I’ll savor the joy I feel now and metaphorically bottle it up for a later date. When things inevitably go downhill, maybe I’ll be able to draw from this bursting little air bubble of bliss.
I just don’t want to look back and think how naïve I was – how self-absorbed and clueless I’m being right now. I want my potentially less-ecstatic future self to remember that I recognized happiness when I had it and knew it wouldn’t last forever.
In the meantime, though, instead of simply waiting for the other shoe to drop, I’m going to do my very best to remain optimistic. Because, honestly, life is swell.