Less than 100%

Today was a really good, healthy day. Regardless of the fact that I woke up slightly hungover, that’s neither here nor there. What are Sunday mornings for, anyway?

For the first time in a long time, I was able to wake up and enjoy a quiet, relaxing morning. I brewed a fresh cup of coffee, cooked a hearty breakfast, and watched Christmas with the Kranks on Netflix. It was beautiful. Afterwards, I got myself up from the couch and decided that for basically the first time this semester I would go to the gym. It was great! I felt healthy, energized, and a part of society. I talked to my dad on the phone on my way back, and then left for a coffee date that proceeded to last over three hours.

And now, here I am—doing another thing I love, writing, and eating a delicious home-cooked meal (which definitely wins over chips and salsa, the theme of my dinners for the past week).

It’s all about the little things, right?

Here’s what I’ve learned this week, thanks to a new friend who already has a very special and warm place in my heart: It is unfair to expect 100% life satisfaction from only one part of your life.

Let me say it again. It is unfair to expect 100% life satisfaction from only one part of your life.

I’m going to use my job as an example, because I feel like that’s the most relevant. If you’ve been following my blog at all over the past few months, you may think that I don’t love my job very much. “It doesn’t feel as meaningful as I wanted” or “It’s not the right one for me.” Well folks, I am here to tell you that those previous statements are 100% not true. The truth behind those statements, and something I might have been too afraid to admit before, is this: It’s not that I wasn’t 100% satisfied with my job, it’s that I wasn’t 100% satisfied with my life.

Looking at my job by itself, I absolutely love it! I get to work with amazing students in such a supportive environment in an office that is consistently moving forward. But why then, I asked myself, was I expecting to find 100% fulfillment of myself only in my job? That’s not a fair expectation. I can’t (and shouldn’t) expect my job to fulfill me in every possible way, because if it did, that would show a complete lack of work/life balance.

Maybe in my life, work is only 30% of my life satisfaction. Whereas friends and family might constitute 50%. And the remaining 20% are the little introvert things that I enjoy: writing in a coffee shop, cooking with a glass of wine, etc.

And if that means I am 100% completely satisfied in my job, in relationships with my friends and family, and in the use of my personal time, than I am 100% satisfied with life. It doesn’t make sense to expect that my job will fulfill me 100% when it only accounts for 30% of my life satisfaction.

And in an ideal world, the important top-priority areas of your life would be top-notch. That way, you would always be at 100%. But we all know that’s not the case. Sometimes, you might have a little confrontation with a friend, making your 50% only 48%. Or maybe there’s a boring task at work, knocking that satisfaction down a few notches.

But if we’re not at 100%, but still maybe at a 97% or even let’s say 82%, that’s still not bad. We may start to feel in the 50s and 60s on some days, but hopefully, those are just the exceptions.

In thinking about life satisfaction, it’s a lesson that’s been told time and time again, it’s just a matter of listening. Don’t place all your eggs in one basket. You can’t (and shouldn’t) be 100% satisfied in just one area of your life. Ask yourself, how else can I be fulfilled?

And at the end of the day, maybe it’s better to not always have 100%, anyway. That way, there is always space to improve, move forward, and grow.