On Contentment

I'm thinking about contentment.

I'm not thinking about contentment as the opposite of ambition, but contentment as the opposite of pure acquisitiveness. You know, acquisitiveness: that stuff that makes you covet your neighbor's ass.

I get barraged by the forces of covetousness every morning when I open my email. I get daily come-ons from Groupon, Zulilly, L. L. Bean (I don't remember ordering from L. L. Bean), and 20-odd more. I thank gmail for automatically sorting them into a separate "promotions" tab, which lends them an air of market barkers, hollering for my attention and my dollar. It makes it easier to delete them unread. Okay, most of them.

I'm not a machine, and I fail to run the gauntlet with my bank account intact maybe once a month. Not a good average, but I'm working on it. 

  Don't you need this [shiny thing]?

Don't you need this [shiny thing]?

  Don't you want this [thing that is better than your dumb thing]?

Don't you want this [thing that is better than your dumb thing]?

Yes! Yes! I want the better thing! Then I will be happier!

And yes, I make and sell shiny things that are unneedable.

I've really written myself into a corner.

The fact is, shiny things are wonderful, and as humans, we do love and appreciate beauty. And glitter. But what do we lose in contentment when, in the pursuit of a more and better contentment, we spend more than is safe and leave ourselves vulnerable to financial instability, which will, in turn, result in a breakdown of any feeling of contentment we may have had? That was a great sentence.

Are you content? Can you make yourself content? 

Do you need that thing? It's just an ass.