The word content can be defined as comfortable, satisfied, at ease, happy. My personal favorite is cozy. I use it all the time. I love cozy.
But I don’t think that I’m a person prone toward contentment. I’m never quite satisfied with things as they are. I want more, something different. I have this urge to keep striving, growing, changing things up.
Not that I act on that urge. It just keeps me vaguely unsatisfied.
And that’s not to say I’m unhappy. I’m very often happy.
For the past couple of days I’ve had the Rolling Stones song “Satisfaction” stuck in my head and it got me thinking about satisfaction and what situations make me feel the most contentment.
I’ve came up with four, as a start.
My girl cat, Angel, is just a teensy bit untamed. She has these huge eyes that look a little wild all the time and she loves to run around the house or chase her tail.
She’s friendly enough and she’ll be the first of the three to parade out when we have company.
My mother had two friends over for lunch one day, and Angel sat in the fourth chair the entire time like an invited guest, just one of the girls.
But she’s only friendly on her own terms.
She will not jump up on laps. If she chooses to rub up against you, or sit near to you, you may be allowed to pat her head but only for a few seconds. And never try to pick her up. She hates that.
Over the years, however, Angel has turned into my girl. She wants me to brush her every night and will often paw at my hand if I try to skip the ritual.
I’m the only one that could even come close to picking her up and she’s even gotten so she doesn’t run away and hide when I set her back down.
Because of this feral streak in her, I’m always touched that she’d decided I’m ok, when she chooses to curl up on my feet or next to my legs at night.
I’m honored that she trusts me. And hearing her purr or give one of her long sighs of contentment makes me feel like doing the same.
As a reader, I’m always looking for the next great book, the next novel that will transport me and engross me. That will make me say, “That’s the best book I’ve read in a long time.”
I never look at the author biography before I read a book, but when I get to the end of one I’ve really enjoyed, I always flip back to the beginning, to that page where they list the other books that author has written.
Sometimes it’s a first novel and there aren’t any other books listed. And sometimes there are a couple of books on the list for me to explore.
But once in a while, there is a great big list of books waiting for me on that page.
When I see that the author has had a long and prolific career and I’m just discovering their work, I am over the moon happy, completely content.
That’s what happened with one of my favorite authors, Ian McEwan. My mother read Enduring Love maybe five years ago or so and passed it on to me.
I was hooked from the first page and read the book in record time.
Then I saw that there were ten or twelve other Ian McEwan books for me to read.
I imagine that’s what heaven must be like. An unlimited supply of books by your very favorite authors.
I don’t buy a lot of gifts. It’s not that I don’t enjoy purchasing presents, or giving them. I actually love it. I’m just don’t do the gift exchange thing with many people.
The few gifts I do buy, I always strive to find the perfect item to give.
I’ll drive my mother nuts spending days trying to find just the right thing for someone. The ideal necklace, a scarf the exact color of their eyes.
I remember who likes what. One friend thinks candles are the worst gift in the world, another loves sage and citrus scented candles. One friend wears gold, another silver.
Sometimes I strike out. I can’t find the perfect gift and I give up. I buy bubble bath or a bottle of wine, something that isn’t individualized at all and doesn’t require any thought.
But when I do come of the just the right gift, I feel at peace with the world.
I wish I could tell you about the latest gift I bought for a friend, but I haven’t given it to her yet and she reads this blog once in a while. I will say that it has her name written all over it and I can’t wait to give it to her.
Even if she doesn’t love it (which she will) it has made me very happy.
The last situation that causes me to feel content is Friday night. It’s my favorite time of the week.
A lot of people look forward to Friday night because it’s a time to party, to go out drinking and dancing, let off a little steam.
I don’t do that. Going out clubbing would ruin my Friday night.
Instead, I pick up take out, go home, curl up on the couch and watch TV.
Any other night I’d be thinking about what I needed to accomplish at the next day or what’s on my to do list.
But on Friday, I have the whole weekend stretching out in front of me. The to do list can wait because I can do those things on Saturday.
And work is two whole days away. I don’t have to worry about that now.
So I’m completely satisfied on Friday night with an egg roll, a glass of wine and an episode of Dexter.
You can’t get cozier than that.