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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 14, Issue 4 (July 1, 1939)

Contentment and Planning

Contentment and Planning.

“I certainly think there is too much discontent about,” said Dora. “Nobody is satisfied. Everybody wants more than they've got.”

“Oh, not everybody,” said Elsie quickly. “Although, yes, I suppose we all do want things. But is ‘wanting things’ wicked?”

“I think discontent is wicked,” replied Dora.

“But wanting things isn't necessarily a sign of discontent,” burst in Elizabeth. “All of us, as Elisie says, want things, but that doesn't mean that we're discontented.”

“I think we should be content with what we have,” said Dora obstinately.

“Oh, but we are!” burst in the other two.

“Contentment doesn't mean,” went on Elizabeth, “that we've given up planning. Even the happiest people look forward, and realise that there are additional good things to aim for.”

“Come on, Dora,” said Elsie. “Aren't there some things you look forward to having later on?”

“No, I don't think so,” said Dora. “I'm quite happy as I am.”

“Of course you're happy,” said Elizabeth. “So are we. But I want all sorts of things. I want an electric washer, and for Dan to have singing lessons again when we can afford it, and a new dress for the dance next month, and to subscribe to a few overseas periodicals, and oh—heaps of things! How about you, Elsie?”

“Well,” said Elsie, “I want to fix up the space under the roof as a playroom page 58 for the children, with lots of cupboards in it, and a narrow stair going up to it from the side of the hall. It'll cost a bit. And I'd like help in the house, to give me time for the outside interests I had before the children came. And I'd like Elizabeth's capacity for organising my time—but it's no use sighing after that!”

“Well,” said Dora, “I didn't know you two wanted so many things. I thought you were quite contented, like I am.”

“But we are contented,” came the chorus.

“While we live, we humans,” said Elizabeth, “we look forward. The happy ones enjoy the present while carrying with them memories of the past, and at the same time planning the ever-interesting future.”

“Hear, hear!” said Elsie.

“Yes,” said Dora, “I see what you mean. I certainly have some lovely memories; and I do look forward. I plan for when Jill will be home for the holidays. And I'm just reorganizing my kitchen. I suppose that's all ‘wanting things.’ And ‘wanting things’ just adds interest to present happiness. Is that what you would say, Elizabeth?”

“Bravo!” cried Elizabeth.