Contentment and Challenges

Over the weekend, a few dorms on campus were open for touring before next year’s housing applications become available. Because my friends and I were curious and because we had nothing better to do on a Saturday, we went through three dorms. Two of the dorms seemed more like hotels than dorm rooms and the third was disappointing. I could give pros and cons for each of them, but as we were walking through, I realized I am perfectly content in the building I live in and will be living in next year.

Then I started thinking about my life in general, and you know what? I am content with my life. I am content with where I go to school, I am content with the friends I have made here at Ball State, I am content with being in Muncie, I am content with the car I drive and the phone I have, I am content as a social studies education major, I am content with my concentrations (history which is required by every social studied ed major, geography, and psychology), I am content as an Honors student, I am content with my family, I am content with the friends I have back home in Indianapolis, I am content in my relationship, I am content in my abilities, and I am content in my walk with God.

However, despite my level of contentment, I am also challenging myself. Physically, I am eating better, working out more often (I have two fairly vigorous routines that I alternate between based on the day), drinking a lot more water, getting Jamba Juice (which is all fruit) more than Starbucks (even though muncie can get cold), and just taking better care of myself. However, I am not just challenging myself physically. I am also working on the mental aspect of my life. I got a job on campus as a notetaker for one of my classes, which has helped me pay better attention in class to make sure I get everything for both myself and the person I am taking notes for. I also am working on procrastinating less. I know I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I create a to-do list on my laptop for myself at the beginning of each week. And while some things always stay the same (my blog post and a few weekly homework assignments), most things on it change. Yesterday I felt really motivated and accomplished five things on my list. Granted, some of them were menial tasks (like changing the dry erase board on my door (I usually put a drawing or a quote on it)  or copying something), but I was still pleased I got so much accomplished. I’ve actually taken to writing the days I want to do some of the tasks so that I don’t feel overwhelmed and have less desire to procrastinate because there is too much for me to do. The third aspect of how I am challenging myself is just to do better in school. Those that know me know that I do well as it is. However, I know I can improve on some things. For example, I got an economics test back today. I got a 92. In college terms, that’s excellent, and indeed it was well above average. However, I know I can do better. So when the next test comes around, I’m going to study harder and a little bit better so I can improve on the test. I want to excel at what I do.

I want to end this post a little differently than I normally do. My challenge to you (yes I think I’m funny) as a reader is to do this for yourself. Think about what in your life makes you content. It could be anything, from your job or your education to your friendships to the way you handle your money. Think about and group together every aspect of your life that makes you content. Then ask yourself “What am I not content with? Why? What can I do to change that?” Maybe it’s a bad habit you want to break, or maybe you want to get in better shape. I don’t know what it is; it’s different for everyone. Is there anything you can do to change it? If so, what’s stopping you? Fear of failure? Fear of criticism? What is it? I promise you that if you are committed enough, none of those fears or hindrances will matter. It won’t come easy, but that does not mean it is not worth trying. However, I can promise that whatever change you want to make will take time. You are not going to wake up and everything will be fixed.  It’s a process. If you need to, write it down to make it more concrete for you. Put it somewhere you will see it every day to challenge you. Start out small and work to approach your goal. It will come with time, if you refuse to quit and continue to persevere. Challenge yourself to be better so you can be content.

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