striving versus contentment


Today I worked on my book, whipped up a cheesecake with my daughter, read the New Yorker profile on Martha Nussbaum, and wondered if I need to run ninety minutes a day and sing opera for an hour and get botox and only eat the small slivers of cake to have a effectual voice in the world.

I think I missed the point.

When it comes to striving versus contentment, I am never sure where I stand. And I never know whether it’s better to travel or stay still. Contentment can be delicious, an awareness of all the good things that are already there. And it can also have this overarching hollowness, like nothing out there is worth the effort.  It’s the same with striving. It can be generous, too, knowing there are all these things out there if you can reach it. And it can be hallow inside.

I am overthinking it. Often. But what I want to say is: the best part of my week was this moment I sat down on the ground outside with a bowl of popcorn and my children ran around me. And what I love are the trays of tulsi grown in Styrofoam cups outside the Indian grocery and the women that stand behind the counter and pack curry leaves and smile at my daughter.

And I want it all. And it might be too much, but it’s what I am going to ask for, again and again. And again and again, I am going to remind myself to be faithful to both. To the big and the small. To sit down with a bowl of popcorn. To listen. To hone my craft. To clarify my voice.


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