I have a little kitchen calendar that I bought at a used book sale last year, and I flip the page every day and enjoy a little homespun wisdom while I wash and dry my dishes. One of the entries this month was by Seymour, and it said, "You have to count on living every single day in a way you believe will make you feel good about your life - so that if it were over tomorrow, you'd be content with yourself."
Reading this filled me with peace, and a sense of recognition that I wouldn't have understood before a few years ago, when I began writing regularly again every day. I wanted to leave something behind when I left this earth, and I know I would be leaving my kids and my husband and my family and friends, which if I've invested in them the right way, would be enough of a mark to have made my life worthwhile, but I wanted to spread the net a little wider yet.
For me, that net was writing. It was communicating what I feel and believe and understand, hopefully in such a way that other people could access it and relate to it, and possibly be changed by it. I can see now that even though I dreamed of writing in this way for most of my life, I couldn't have done it with the same level of meaning before now, and I hope that in a decade or two the meaning will be richer and deeper than it is today, provided I continue to grow and change, and I don't plan on stopping.
When I go to bed at night these days, I feel contentment in an entirely new way. I feel as though I have accomplished something worthwhile. I still see how far I have to go to reach my dreams, but I also see that I have made incremental progress, and most days, that is enough for me. My ambitions don't have that massive overwhelming feel to them anymore, like an angry thundercloud threatening to soak me, but instead they prod and motivate without attacking my confidence.
It's a breath of fresh air to be content with who I am and where I'm going. I don't walk along with a cat of nine tails to whip my back every few steps any more. Now I encourage myself as I go, gently and with a bit more love than I've ever shown myself before. I want to feel good as I accomplish my dreams and not like I'm racing to keep up with my own insane expectations.
Goals are wonderful things, provided you don't beat yourself over the head with them. Love and mercy are the keys that will eventually unlock your dreams for you, and make everything you've ever wanted seem closer than ever before. It's not a magic formula. There were many times I wished for this in my teens and twenties, but I wasn't ready for it then. We are ready when we are ready, and there is no sense beating ourselves up before that time.
It's step by step, and change by change, and each block builds upon the last one to get you somewhere. If you haven't found what it is that makes you feel good about yourself, I encourage you to be intentional about looking for it until you locate it. It might take you a long time, but it will be worth it in the end. When you find it, you'll know what it is, your life will never be the same, and contentment will be your reward.