“Do you find the tension between seeking contentment and desiring more, difficult? I do, certainly.”

Those were the closing lines of an email I received last week from a woman who has lived more life than I – and just like that, she so concisely distilled my entire life’s dilemma. Perhaps you relate?

Contentment in its truest form is a beautiful thing, and worth cultivating. But personally, I can easily confuse contentment with complacency – an artificial version of “satisfaction,” keeping my dreams and desires in the OFF position.

Contentment should never be at the risk of betraying one’s heart.

I used to feel a little sheepish that I (still) love the song “Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid – but not anymore. Why shouldn’t I love it? The lyricist, Howard Ashman*, perfectly articulates the honest acknowledgement of restless desire, regardless of how much one has – which is actually quite profound.

I want more.

When’s it my turn?

Contentment and wanting more seem to be in direct opposition of each other – and like my friend Joey recently said, “I think that for some people, it’s honestly just harder to be happy.” And if it hadn’t been 10 in the morning, we would have clinked whiskey glasses.

The trouble with wanting more is that we’re never satisfied. The beauty of wanting more is that it cracks our lives wide open – for better and for worse, but ultimately for better. It’s like when you love someone. Loving makes you vulnerable to pain. Loving means there’s a lot to lose.

Loving can make you afraid. But being loved means you don’t have to be.

I don’t know that any of this makes much sense, and I don’t know if I even mean for it to. All I know is that I want MORE – and I’m not talking about the material things (although I’d definitely take another pair of Frye boots if you’re offering), but just… more. Life. Depth. Beauty. Freedom. I don’t want to play it safe – because this is what Mary Oliver calls my “one wild and precious life.”

What if there’s more for me? What if there’s more for you?


(Once on a trip to Texas, I forgot pajamas. I raided the Target sale rack, and obviously chose this.)


*From what I’ve learned about Howard Ashman (and trust me, I’ve obsessed over the man), I so wish I could have met him. His work on The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin is some of the best musical storytelling there’s ever been. Watch this short clip, and try not to fall in love with him. And then watch this longer clip and witness Jodi Benson sing like a laser beam.



  1. Tiffany on September 29, 2014 at 10:36 PM

    love it!

  2. Peg Achterman on September 29, 2014 at 10:43 PM

    Precisely Ms. Parsons. A struggle I’ve had all my life. And I think I too have said “contentment is so close to complacency” and I don’t want to be complacent.

  3. Emily from Seattle on September 29, 2014 at 11:04 PM

    I’m basically dealing with this exact struggle right now. I’m afraid to want more in case it just doesn’t exist for me, and my job is just to accept and be happy with what I have. Still…I find myself asking “when’s it my turn?” right along with Ariel on a regular basis!

  4. Michael on September 30, 2014 at 7:40 AM

    Love! I took a quiz on the Fb as to what Disney female I was…I am Elsa. So true it’s scary. That’s okay…it means that I need to learn the meaning of what it is to be loved. I also confess I kinda have a crush on Ariel. The wedding I officiated this summer had a subtle but fun Little Mermaid theme to it, for the bride and bridesmaids. Her dress was kinda mermaidy, and the ladies all had starfish in their hair. The bride is a big champion of finding empowerment in Disney movies :-)

  5. Joey (a different one) on September 30, 2014 at 11:31 AM

    “The trouble with wanting more is that we’re never satisfied.” If I am reading this statement correctly, then I don’t feel this has to be true. I don’t know how to articulate it, except comparing it to physical labor. As I seek abundant life, I can mix mud and lay stones all day long, then go home happy, even if the wall isn’t complete. The finished building will come later, yet I’m content that I did my work well today. In other words, the process satisfies me. I feel peace and contentment and joy, even though I know I have work to do.

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