Tuesday, November 22, 2005

What is this "contentment" of which you speak?

Yesterday I had to go measure the space for the refrigerator in the new house because we might have some family donate one for us (HALLELUJAH). It definitely felt more "mine" than ever. Of course I've begun the process of remaking the home in my mind - colors and furniture arrangements, improvements and eventual remodeling. The thought of change is making it hard to keep things the same in other areas. I mean, when you're standing in the grocery store aisle thinking about trying new brands of dressing just because? Problems.

Change is addictive once you get started. Changing my hair color made me happy; maybe it's time to change the cut? Length? Go for bald? [Enter "Danger," stage right] With the onslaught of the holidays and the work projects piling up and the move - it's just a lot to NOT think about. There's so much potential for good change, but it's definitely possible to go off the deep end.

Living in a "makeover" society doesn't help. In true American form, we don't change one thing, WE DO IT ALL, BABY! Every room is redone, every outward facet of our appearance is "improved" and pretty soon, our life is so different that they really did change the entire thing as they promised. I remember being taught in science classes to only change one variable at a time (for the most part) in order to understand the impact of each change. Does that mean we should all scientifically experiment with our lives all the time? Or is it just that it's "experts" making 20 changes at one to What Not to Wear participants, so that's why all those changes work? And how do I get me some of that vast expenditure on makeover shows, hmmm?

Where does contentment fit into all this? That's not a word you hear a lot in American culture, I don't think. I guess because of the ubiquity of the marketing machine, it's hard to get a moment of media in which we aren't exhorted to want better household cleaning tools, faster internet service, or more volumizing hair products. Not helping matters is that, at least on a smaller scale, I like change. I'm always looking for something new for dinner, for my skin regimen, heck, for my desktop background! My dad used to say that he could eat a good ham and cheese sandwich every day for the rest of his life and be perfectly content. I won't let myself order the same thing twice at the Cheesecake Factory because the grass is always greener on the other side of the menu.

This makes me contentment challenged, but probably no more than any of us. We live in a world with high humidity - do you think we'll ever stop working toward that product that makes our hair have volume but not frizz? If you answered yes you don't know a)women, b)the beauty industry, c)humanity, and d)jack. It's gotten us this far, developing lightweight fabrics that insulate in the Himalayas, better graphics for our movies, and the internet, through which you read all this drivel every day. It's not all bad. I just wish I understood where the line is between contentment and that perfect pomade.

If contentment is anything like this, then maybe I should look into it.


Neil said...

i made a new blog!

Plankiest said...

Chica, you blow my head off! There was more thought-provoking material in there than I could come up with in a week! I seriously think I am going to go for a second helping of that. (Need to practice for Thanksgiving.)