Calm Tomato v Couch Potato

So, honestly, I just figure that since potato and tomato rhyme, this would be a good title for today’s post… which incidentally has nothing to do with garden variety fruit and vegetables.

The couch potato has long been looked upon as a creature of scorn – a lazy bum with nothing to do and no ambition, no drive. The couch potato has a lifestyle of their own. The couch potato is one with the couch, one with not moving much, one for not putting in a lot of effort – basically the lazy Saturday that never ends.

My calm tomato (that it seems I have just invented) is an opposite of sorts. While the calm tomato would seem to emulate their potato brethren in lack of ambition, this is far from true. Instead, the calm tomato is content.

And there is a major difference between stagnation and contentment.

My family had a discussion at the dining table this weekend at family dinner about contentment. It also came up that maybe this ‘contentment’ is what gives a lack of drive or a lack of ambition. Alternatively, there is a difference between being content and settling.

Let me explain how I understood this.

When one is content, it means that they are not fighting who they are or where they are in the present moment (the calm tomato). They are okay with what they have achieved and accept their shortcomings. This doesn’t now mean that the calm tomato will accept their lot in life.

The calm tomato can see where they have come from, can see what they don’t like and would like to change, respect the process of doing so (and consequently the time it will take to get there) and they “Keep Calm and Carry On.” A calm tomato does not lack ambition and instead have the practicality to see that their situation is not going to change overnight, instead choosing to be in the moment and then work towards improving what they can.

This is positive in that while the calm tomato seeks better things for themselves, they do not get greedy and they accept what they have and what they get and work with that. That was the conclusion I came to. The opposite of contentment is greed.

Or at least one opposite. The concept is a little difficult to explain but I found this neat little excerpt on contentment from that may just do the trick:

Many people are not interested in acquiring power, not because they lack ambition, but because they are living their lives as they desire.

Sheryl Sandberg

In this world of super-empowerment where you can definitely be a CEO or manager if you work hard, there seems to be no place for the person who is happy as a clam just taking care of their home or tending their garden from day to day or just wants to have a small bakery on the side of the street – not start an empire or franchise and expand into the main market then take over the world.

And really, if I can be anything I want to be, why can’t I just be a happy small business owner managing my five employees and making enough to get by? Why is it that if getting married is a goal, I should now look elsewhere for fulfilment because “A man doesn’t define who I am.”? For sure he doesn’t, and I’m pretty sure that marriage doesn’t mean I need a man to validate myself, rather that I have found a lifelong companion to weather the storms of life with… but I digress.

I may not marry a celebrity crush and have a whirlwind romance. I may never hit a six figure salary let alone seven figures. I may not get every single thing I want in life. However, I would like to be happy with my life, with my career, my family and my spiritual life – however all of that turns out. And that is not a lack of ambition, that is contentment.

I want to wake up one day in the future and be able to say that I have achieved a lot and even though it’s not lavish, rich, classy, epic, breathtakingly successful or (insert other adjective here), it will be mine. My achievements will have been mine. I will have made it that far and I will have found some happiness along the way – at least enough to say I am okay. I am good. I have done well for myself.

Maybe more of us should learn to practice the mantra of the calm tomato: “I may not get exactly where I want to be, but I am happy with where I am now and how far I have come.”


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