Thursday, February 24, 2011

Today's fortune: February 24, 2011

Today's fortune: Contentment is just around the corner for you. Look forward!

Not much contentment to be found in this bitter Midwest winter. Two weeks ago we were inundated with a blizzard, the likes of which people my age have never seen. A week ago the temperatures soared into the 70s and the grass in my backyard was deceived into turning a brownish shade of green (That would be a good name for a Travis McGee novel: A Brownish Shade of Green). Today, winter came back, and winter was pissed off. At one point today, sleet, rain and snow were falling from the sky simultaneously.

For consistency's sake, let's take a look at the definition: "The state of being contented; satisfaction; ease of mind." Okay. also lists definitions from the Word English Dictionary, and I like what they have to say better: "Mentally or emotionally satisfied with the way things are; to make oneself content or satisfied; peace of mind."

"Contentment" is an interesting concept for readers and writers of fiction. Currently, my wife started reading one of my favorite books, The Good Earth, by one of my favorite authors, Pearl S. Buck. So we could discuss the novel more intelligently, I decided to re-read it as well. Jamie wrapped it up this week; I'm 20 pages from the ending.

I can't do the book justice here with just a short description (by which I mean, read it yourself! You won't regret it). But I'll explain a little bit: the main character of The Good Earth is a simple farmer named Wang Lung. The thing he desires most in the world is land, and he becomes a rich man off of the land he acquires. He learns that the closer he stays in touch with the good earth under his feet, the wealthier he becomes.

Near the end of the story, Wang Lung has produced sons and daughters and his land has produced riches beyond his wildest dreams. As he grows older, Wang Lung achieves certain levels of contentment at several points in his life, only to have it dashed by this distraction or that.
My favorite book, East of Eden (no, I don't just read what Oprah tells me to read, although, damn, she picks some good ones), ends with the death of a main character. But the character only finds contentment in the moments before his demise, which makes the death, and the book, beautiful.

My own unpublished novel - not that it can be compared at all to The Good Earth or East of Eden - ends when the main character finds contentment.

What does it all mean for me? According to this fortune, contentment is at hand, or at least within reach. But I suppose the definition of "around the corner" could be left to interpretation.

I do see contentment in sight, and it's this: a year from now, my wife should be finished with school, finished with student teaching, and ready to embark on a career as an educator. I'm so proud of her I could burst. But I'm also happy that she is nearing a place of career stability, a place of career enjoyment, and above all a place of contentment. Her contentment will dictate my own.

Really, though, I'm pretty content with my life as it is now. I wouldn't change a single thing.

Except, in my ideal life, the Kansas City Royals would be better.


  1. I enjoyed your blog, but be careful what you say about my Royals. HA

  2. Just had to comment on the sleet, rain, and snow all coming down at once.

    I saw this occurrence when I was at work, and it took my tiny brain a minute to process what was going on. It was sleeting, but not slush... the pellets raining down where bouncing off car windshields. Hail? No... sleet-hail? But it was also snowing little tiny non-bouncing flakes, but they were not blustering about on a merry wind. No, they were coming down with a PURPOSE! Actually, they were almost coming down sideways.

    After a few minutes of being very confused and feeling somewhat lost, I decided to put an end to this issue. Let's face it, I only get a 15 minute break and this was seriously eating into my relaxation time.

    So what was happening on the 25th, I decided, was that it was "snow-raining" some "sleet-hail". And then I could put that out of my law-abused brain and try to focus on getting through the rest of my day at work.

    If there had been lightning as well I probably would have blown a fuse somewhere and just crumpled to the floor. Thank goodness for small miracles, eh?