Finding Contentment in Change
Want to be happier and more content in life? Embrace change, a study published in The Review of Economic Studies notes.
I did a double take when I first read about the study at cnbc.com. Oftentimes, change and contentment are presented as completely opposing ideas.
The stereotypically “content” person tends to be portrayed as so satisfied with their life that they never want more than what they already have. They still live in the house they grew up in, drive the same car since 1984, hardly ever buy new clothes, and never upgrade their gadgets. They may still be texting and calling on a Nokia 3310, fresh from 2002.
Our flawed concept of contentment tells us that we should be satisfied with our life as it is and never try to improve it. Yet the truth is that human beings are designed to evolve. Nothing in life is static, and in order to survive, we must adapt. If we fail to adapt, we have essentially given up on life.
When people are given a choice between continuing the status quo and making a change, the latter seems to make them happier in the long run.
I am not at all opposed to change; as a matter of fact, I desire it. I constantly pray for our life situation to improve because I know it still can. Becoming a parent has filled me with hopes and dreams for my family. At the same time, it has brought me some anxieties.
Most of my hopes are rooted in things getting better for each member of my family, such as my husband’s improved ability to handle his hemophilia (and the reduction, and ultimately disappearance, of his seizures), the improvement of my mental health, and our baby girl’s growth and development.
Still, my biggest fear echoes loudly in the chambers of my head. What if my husband’s health conditions tie us down to a life with no possibility of change?
Thankfully, many fears are irrational. We often create them by obsessing over the worst possible scenario our minds can conjure.
To conquer our irrational fears, we need to look at them more objectively. Only upon doing so can we produce a realistic picture of what may or may not happen. We can then use our best judgment to determine how likely it is that our feared outcome will occur.
My husband, Jared, has hemophilia and a seizure disorder. Bleeding episodes can be both debilitating and disheartening. On the bright side, these do pass. With some adjustments here and there, we can still manage on a day-to-day basis. It is difficult, but there are ways we can still be cheerful in spite of the painful and occasionally depressing moments.
The likelihood that Jared will get a life-threatening bleed is always present, and it does cross our minds now and then. We don’t deny that we need to be realistic about his illness sometimes. Yet the chances of it actually happening are still relatively slim.
Jared has lived for almost 28 years with hemophilia, and he is still alive and growing. He’s also constantly learning new things: how to manage a business and a home, how to be a dad, and how to self-infuse, among many others.
I’m growing as well. I’m growing in motherhood, learning to balance the responsibilities of being a wife and a mother with my passions and desires, and openly embracing changes as they come.
No matter how slow this growth may seem, slow progress is still progress. The reality is that we are, in fact, changing, improving, and actively striving for happiness.
Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.