Is Long-Term Satisfaction Possible?

Have you ever witnessed the new toy syndrome? A child begs for a new toy for weeks, then not long after, the toy sits in the corner, and the child wants the next thing they see advertised. They lost interest because it’s no longer new and exciting. 

How about your new car that smells so good when you first buy it. It has no dents or dings. You wash it every week with pride and park it far away from all the other cars. Then one day, you are running late, so you take the closest parking spot you find, and when you come out, you notice a dent in your door. All of a sudden, your baby just lost a bit of its luster. 

What happens to that relationship when in the beginning it’s so intense, then after a year or so, it becomes routine, then eventually the excitement is gone. Or the new job that seems fantastic initially, then ultimately it feels like every other job you have had before. 

If we become complacent in any aspect of our lives, we find the result is stagnation. “The lack of activity, growth, or development.” When we want something, we put our energy into getting that something, then when we have it, we lose interest. I have wondered if we humans have a hard time staying interested in something or someone because we have so many options these days.   Have we been programmed to try everything, succeed at whatever we do, don’t stop because someone is right behind us? Then when we reach the top, we realize the peak across the street looks more exciting. This type of stress causes exhaustion, and exhaustion causes complacency, which breeds stagnation. It’s a vicious cycle, and for many of us, we don’t know how to get off the merry-go-round. 

I don’t think my grandparents ever thought changing jobs every two to three years was the way to go or deciding after the lust wore off in their marriage divorce was the solution. I am not saying we should live our lives as our grandparents did. We as humans need to evolve, learn, grow and expand. But when the abundance of our options interferes with our mental state, and we begin to question ourselves, that’s the time we need to step back. We need to take a breath and try to evaluate what we truly want out of life, our relationships, our employment. If Covid taught me anything, it was to slow down and decide what was important in my life. I started to make changes, some faster than others. One of my favorite sayings is “Life is a Journey.” So, I try to map out what I want in my life and what I want to change. For the record, this is ever-changing because I am ever-changing. 

When I was younger, I saw my life one way. As each decade passed, I would look back and see my mistakes or realize my wants and needs were so different than they are now. My satisfaction always depended on how I thought the outcome should be instead of how it was. I did not truly understand this concept until I was much older. I still fight with this occasionally. The good news is I have a more realistic mind, and when I let my mind win over my heart, I do a bit better.  What helps me is helping someone else when they are struggling with some of the same issues I have dealt with before. Talking them through it allows me to deal with any unresolved feelings of self-doubt and not feeling fulfilled for any reason. It also just feels damn good to listen and help someone else. 

I think you can have long-term satisfaction, but it takes a lot of hard work and determination. It is a lifelong journey, but as they say, “Anything worth having in life takes time, persistence, and consistency!” I hope all of you find long-term satisfaction in the areas of your life that you truly want. It is one of life’s greatest gifts. 

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