Home > Career, Choices, Goals, Location, Reflection, Relationships > An interesting life?

An interesting life?

Penelope Trunk, who always makes me think, wrote a post a few weeks ago on the choice people make between being interesting and being content.  She suggested that many people make choices that take them away from valued relationships, jobs, or locations because they’re looking for interestingness rather than contentment.  Her comments struck a chord with me.

As I look back on my life since college I often wonder at the dichotomy of my choices.  On the one hand, I love being part of a community and feeling that I really know the area in which I live and the people I live with.  On the other hand, I keep moving every few years, barely giving myself time to put down roots before I’m transplanting myself again.  I mourn the lack of stability – and I’m sure my lack of a long-term relationship is related to my constant movement – but my craving for roots can’t compete against my restlessness, against the sense that the next place, the next apartment, the next job will be so interesting that I just have to give it a try.  I feel like there’s so much to do in this world, so much to learn, that being comfortable, being content, makes me feel like I’m missing out.

It’s why I applied to graduate school when I could have stayed in a great job, why I moved to Charlottesville when I could have stayed near my friends and boyfriend, why I put everything in storage and went to England, why I’m about to leave a wonderful group of friends to start over, again, in DC.  I miss the lives I’ve left behind with each move, but when I talk with people about my life, I feel the richness and variety of my experiences.  That texture – the coexisting expertise in toddler development, business school admissions, life in an old mill town or big city living – it’s all a part of me and how I view the world.  My hope is that someday I’ll find a place, job, or person that makes me feel I can combine interestingness and contentment, but until then I have to keep seeking interesting.

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  1. August 8, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    And how.. interesting that I chose contentment over interesting ;-) I haven’t ever really thought of it in those terms, but this post made me think. I was so used to moving every few years and trying out new things that this whole settling down thing was hard to accept. I love my family but I’m glad I had the experiences I did before I settled down (not quite as many as you’ve had!). From my experience, once you do settle down (and when you’re ready it’ll hit you like a ton of bricks and shock you!), you’ll be okay with contentment and find your own interesting in day-to-day activities. But until then, I’ll live vicariously through your “interesting” ;-)

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