1 a: physical environment : space b: a way for admission or transit c: physical surroundings : atmosphere
I recently read a book called Prague that was set in Budapest. This bothered me for part of the book, until I realized how much of the book was about longing to be elsewhere - in another city, another country, even another time. It made me think about how much our place in life has to do with our contentment.
I know people who are convinced they would be happier if they lived somewhere else. Sometimes this is justified (i.e. moving somewhere sunnier when you suffer from seasonal affective disorder), but mostly, I think discontent with place is about a deeper sense of dissatisfaction that has very little to do with our surroundings and everything to do with our inner well-being.
As I've mentioned in some recent posts, I've been thinking a lot about what it means to really live. I see our desires to move, to change jobs, to buy a new house as symptomatic of not really choosing to live wherever you are. Instead, we wait until the next phase, place or stage to really start living.
Not long ago, I read a blog post about someone's lush green grass in their suburban home. I don't really care about our grass and I certainly don't want to live in a suburb, but I was momentarily dissatisfied after reading the post. Our home isn't perfect, but I like it. It's not too big, it's not too small. I can walk the girls to school when we get up early enough in the mornings (which admittedly is not very often). I can even walk to the grocery store when I only need to pick up a few things. I am happy with my place, as long as I don't spend too much time comparing it to others' places.
As I've aged - or perhaps I should say as I've matured - I have found so much dissatisfaction in my life stems from comparison. Whether comparing bodies, abilities or homes, wherever we are or whatever we have pales slightly in comparison to others. So I am trying to stay mentally and emotionally in my physical place. I don't want to wish away my time, but enjoy it for what it is and for where it is spent. I find this is a hard lesson to teach myself.
A few years ago, when A & B were about 4 & 3, they were standing naked side-by-side about to get in to the bathtub. Their bodies are shaped so differently and I realized at their young ages that their body shapes had nothing to do with the amount of exercise they were doing or the foods they were eating. These are simply the bodies God gave them. So why am I constantly trying to change my body's shape? In a very real sense, our bodies are the places we spend the most time in, so I must find a certain degree of contentment there if I am to be content anywhere else.
I hope I'll persevere in learning the lesson of loving my place in life and that I can help my daughters learn this lesson at a much younger age. I love thinking about all they can accomplish and who they can be if they know who they are before they are in their thirties!