Want nothing and you will have everything.

The title of this piece is a quote from Indian spiritual avatar Meher Baba.

What is it to be content? And indeed, is contentment a desirable state?
I once wrote a piece about men and women and their differing objectives and concepts of life. I had observed empirically and without misogyny that women were in a perpetual state of necessary dissatisfaction. And what’s more, that they like it that way. Men on the other hand I suggested, want nothing more than to lean back upon their metaphorical shovels, contentedly reflecting on a job well done. I have since had occasion to revise this evaluation, at least in part. Perhaps my error was in judging all men by my own feckless, wastrel standards?

I was prompted to expound on this subject because I was recently berated by two male friends for my lack of ambition and my lifetime of abject failure.
A fair and honest assessment on both counts.
It seems, they had taken it upon themselves without solicitation, to be concerned for my well-being. At least, that was the premise of their intervention. As the conversation continued however, this concern appeared to morph into bitterness and hostility. There appeared to be genuine anger at my insistance that I wanted nothing. It transpired that I should be coveting all manner of material possessions, extensive foreign travel and a social life that would inspire the envy of Paris Hilton. To do otherwise, I was told was to have given up on life.
Who knew? Well, everyone except myself it seems.
I had spent the previous afternoon in the company of one of my incongruous interlocutors. Years before, he had been a keen naturalist and angler and so I had taken him to a favourite riverside retreat to relax and watch the fish while enjoying a glass of cider. Something he had expressed a desire to do. Almost at once, as I pointed to the damselflies dancing in the margin, his conversation turned to work or his need for a new car or his wife’s demand for a new tumble dryer. ‘It’s alright for you’ he snapped. ‘For you too right now’ I retorted. But I was wrong. Clearly, he was unable to enjoy or even be in the now.

Regrettably I too have to work, but I long since decided that I would not do unpaid overtime. The moment I leave work, I slip seamlessly into freedom mode and will eschew the inevitable trials and tribulations of working life entirely when I’m not there.
So in spite of my friends’ earnest entreaties, It seems I must resign myself to the torment of under achiever’s contentment.