I was talking with a friend awhile ago about how I behave under certain circumstances. He was trying to read me and I clarified things by telling him that when I'm notably happy, things are likely very stressful and heading in the wrong direction. When I'm cranky, stressed and a mess, things are likely going unbelievably well. Pretty twisted, I know. To illustrate this another way, when I'm stressed I don't eat and I lose weight. When I'm happy... I'm fat and happy.
I've been lucky enough to have achieved several major personal goals over the past year. Furthermore, I've had some significant (good & bad) personal events hit me over the same timespan. Simply put, a lot has changed for me over the past year, so I've been able to reflect on the personal behavioral hypothesis I posited awhile ago with my friend.
Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, I'm realizing there's some void I'm trying to fill. I can't measure its volume, so I can't predict what will fill it. The rate at which I can fill it changes frequently, which therefore complicates the attempts to fill it. This leads to a constant lack of satisfaction. I'm sure this is starting to read like a resume describing how "my biggest weakness is that I work too hard," but this goes way beyond work. It permeates my being.
As my wife can attest, living in the "now" is very hard for me; I'm always somewhere in the future (the past is dead to me the moment the time passes). We walked in the door as a family the other day after a long exhausting, though fun, day, and before I realized it, she was frustrated and blurted out "we haven't been in the house 30 seconds and you're already doing 10 new things." When I wake up in the morning there is no "warm up" period that I hear people talk about, I am just "on."
I used to think this would change with certain milestones being met. Well, I'm "older" now, and while that's certainly had it's impact, it hasn't calmed me down. It hasn't slowed me down. It hasn't shown me any light to make me content.
I don't want to be content. Ever! My highs will be very high, but the trade is that my lows can be very low. Meandering through life with a constant level smile feels boring. Someone at an Ignite Boulder event last year made a remark that stuck with me. Something like "if you want to be content, go take a warm bath!" I do take baths from time to time (sorry Cosmo Kramer), but they're recharge moments, not relaxing experiences.
Every few years I'll have one of these completely blissful moments. They last only a few minutes at the most, but they're truly pure elation. Nothing is wrong in the world, and life is perfect. I haven't had one of those in awhile, but I'm looking forward to the next one. They're so cool.