Accepting Dissatisfaction

I‘ve come to terms with the fact that we all die dissatisfied with our lives. There are of course things we’re proud of, accomplishments, children, our perfected apple pie recipe, but chances are good that when we die, we’re still not going to feel finished. I don’t think we’re ever fully satisfied with absolutely everything in our lives.

We still worry, say, about the child or granddaughter who still hasn’t found her way in the world, or about our legacy or our finances. Our back fat or sagging skin. How drawn our face is, how it doesn’t reflect how we feel inside. Rather than fight that dissatisfaction, I’m learning to wear it a bit more loosely. Why should I spend my time struggling for a sense of complete satisfaction, when in truth, satisfaction is a pitstop. It’s a temporary destination with a built in “exhale.” Look at the ground you’ve covered, then hit the road again in search of more… more experiences, more adventures, more memories and more growth.

It’s exhilarating, actually, this ability to accept that when you die, you won’t be fully satisfied. You’ll maybe wish for more time, or less pain, wondering if you’ve said everything that needs to be said, and did you say it in a way that will linger and penetrate?

Knowing that I’ll eventually feel dissatisfied, I’ve decided to stop expecting satisfaction to arrive. Instead, I celebrate what feels good and acknowledge what doesn’t, without judging it. It is what it is.

A quick sketch I drew of a place I’d like to visit in our upcoming trip to Bruges, Belgium – from Instagram:
We’re planning a family trip to Paris, Amsterdam, and Belgium this summer. In anticipation, I’m loading up the travel watercolor palette I’ve made of Lucas’s upside-down Lego blocks. I’m bringing along a watercolor paper sketchbook to draw when I can. Not for perfection but just for the joy of it, for the growth in it, for the play of it.
Let’s all play as much as we can this summer. That’s my plan.
You know what I love most today? I love that my kids learn through my own behavior, not from what I tell them but from how I live around them. I love that they get to witness my absolute delight in life, my supersaturated passion for everything. I love when we discuss the lights in the sky, when we discuss the way the shadows dance when the wind blows, the way I delight at the mere mention of rainbow sprinkles. I love that they witness my curiosity and consumption of life. I want to keep feeding these passions of mine, these little light up jewels that brighten along the path I’m taking lately.


  1. I love this post and your new outlook on appreciating life as it happens instead of living in anticipation of the next big thing.

    This lesson is one I’m learning now as I watch my beloved parents ‘wind down’ from life. Each day, I see them in the morning to make sure everyone lived through the night – bringing in the newspaper or sometimes just waving as I drive by on my way to my busy life.

    Each evening, I stop by again – this time for a more intense ‘visit’ and ‘assessment’ session. I always come in the back door and holler ‘halllooooooooo?’ and wait for a response. In that initial moment, I’m able to assess the drama/trauma level of the day, evaluate if an ambulance is needed or if all is well. Then, as I pour a glass of wine or tea – I hear the beginnings of the recitation of their day(s).

    The thing is – these are brilliant people who led big, brilliant lives. My dad was a world-class cancer researcher in a top-tier university, and my mom a recognized and dedicated teacher of ESL kids.

    When I was growing up – my brother and sister and I were all banished from the living room when mom and dad got home as they had their ‘quiet grown-up time’. The snippets we heard were stresses about deadlines or projects or grants or people. Their lives were complicated and detailed, and they were flying a million miles an hour to accomplish everything.

    Fast forward to now…theirs is a much quieter time. I liken it to bedtime when the house is settling in for sleep. There is the closing of doors and setting of alarms. Bathroom moments, last minute glasses or water, wishes for happy dreams. And then the slow tick-tick-ticking of the grandfather clock as it counts off the night hours.

    I don’t know how long I’ll have them, but I know I love this time. Life is good.

  2. It seems that they have also absorbed your self- centered shallowness…

  3. Ah, Amsterdam, my neck of the woods! You will love it – there is nowhere quite like Amsterdam in the summer time

  4. I check in once a year to see if you have changed. You never do, and never disappoint. See ya in 2018.

  5. Hello Stephanie,

    Great shout here :)

    We can not have all the things which we desire for in our life span. There are always something that remains untouched
    and we are not satisfied as we think we should have done that before we die.

    Have great summer this time :)

    Thanks for the share.


  6. Well, it’s common to be dissatisfied with your life. My advice for everyone: just do not panic and be yourself:)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.