The Crawl (December 2022) -By: Jordan Lanegan
Written by Staff on December 15, 2022
Why is that none of us ever actually know what the hell it is we want? We think we do, but we don’t. We want excitement and spontaneity, but we also want stability and security. We want to have our shit together, but we also want to let loose and live. We want to learn something new, but we don’t want to put in the time and effort to get there. And often, once we get the ‘thing’ we think is going to make us happy, that contentment is fleeting.
Is it human nature to never be satisfied?
This feeling of ‘stuck’ never seems to go away. There’s this heavy, weighted monotonous blanket draped over us leaving us constantly unfulfilled. Maybe that’s why most of us are reluctant to let go of our youth, because it seems that’s the only time we’re socially allowed to thrive and do things without a care or consequence in the world.
But then twenty-six (or thirty or forty) hits and it seems like the gimmick is up. Fun, no more. Nose, to the ground. You’re an adult now. Scrub down and suit up. This is what dreams are made of.
Being a grown-up sucks.
Is it the little things? Or is it the big things? Can’t it be both? They say that in order to be a writer, you must have adventures and experiences to fuel your content. But I feel like all I do these days is laundry, clean, sleep, work – repeat. It’s exhausting. The mundane is excruciating. Even when I have free time, when it isn’t spent doing the list of daily chores and errands, I don’t have the energy to find joy in the little things. Why?
On paper, I have nothing to complain about. I’m in a loving relationship, dog-mama to a very sweet, semi pain-in-the-ass, largely misunderstood pit-bull, have a house full of quality goods, a great job, a group of friends I can always count on and a family from afar that I try to maintain a week-to-week basis of keeping in touch with.
But every time I’m driving down Wolf Road, looking out the window and see the grocery stores, the mini-shopping malls, or the goddamn Cheesecake Factory, I want to scream. I get lost in my daydreams of when I was in Europe and you never had to see a Walmart. You had history, stunning architecture, a city center, outdoor markets, restaurants other than The Boil Shack, Ted Fish Fry, Outback Steakhouse and Olive Garden. I am convinced that suburbia is where people go to die.
I’m aware this is a romanticized version of reality. Everyone, everywhere, have their gripes. Most people don’t love where they live, especially if they’ve been there their whole lives. I met a guy from London last night at the bar and he ripped the politics of it to pieces. The other week I served a band from Canada and had one dude proposition me to be his real-life 90 Day Fiancé. I laughed. He did not.
So how do we shake the funk? A shift in mindset, I suppose.
“Doing the laundry and the dishes and meal preparation are not tasks of the mundane, because being clothed and clean and fed declares the dignity of human life and nurtures us into new days, new eras; they are not mundane, no, they are the rituals of care.”
Ah – a little love for thyself. The rituals of care. These things go a long way, sure. And understandably, you must have those ducks in a row to get involved in anything else. But is it enough?
Are the rituals of care and the tasks of the mundane enough to suffice and ignite the fire we are all supposed to have to head straight first, no questions asked, into the weirdness of life?
I’m not always so convinced it is. I could eliminate massive loads of laundry if I only had a few staple pieces. I could mitigate cleaning and household chores if I lived tiny. I could give the finger to work if things didn’t cost money (if only).
Or here’s another option:
I could just be content. I could just simply be.
This is easier said than done.
We seem to wrap ourselves up in this idea that it’s always something outside of our means that’s going to fix our problems and make us happy, that if we don’t discover what our purpose is and figure it out quick, we’re doomed, useless, a tired-out trick.
‘Happy’ is supposedly about being fully present, wherever you are, no matter the circumstances. It’s about accepting that all these moments and experiences you want may never come to fruition, that many experiences you have may not live up to mark, and yet you must still find a way to exude gratefulness. And most importantly, it’s realizing that we quickly get used to most things and easily forget how special they are. Moreover, it’s about realizing that we would likely need many lifetimes to do everything we wanted and dreamed of, and that this lifetime should not be wasted by the desire to do or have it all.
Not that anybody’s asking, but my advice? Lower your expectations.
I know this seems contrary to what we’re taught, but…think about it. If you don’t expect much, then everything has an opportunity to be a cherished stand-out surprise or gift. It has the ability to hold more weight, more satisfaction. Nuances are important, but when you’re so tirelessly unwavering in the specifics of them, it can turn problematic.
I regularly miss the ease of childhood, the doe-eyed, rose-tinted version of what could be, but I also immensely appreciate the blatancy of adulthood and what is, what has always been, and all the ways that I – we – can get from where we are, to where we should, or want, to be.
Contentment is often given a bad rep, but maybe it wouldn’t kill us to embrace it a little bit more. If we’re bothered by the fleeting feeling of chasing happiness, then the sustainability and simpleness of contentment should spark the opposite reaction.
As they say…doesn’t hurt to try.