Being content right where you are

photo: Christopher Baker via Martha Stewart




Happy New Year! I am always bursting with excitement at the start of a New Year. While I don’t make resolutions, I do a fair amount of reflecting. I like to assess what has not worked the last year and make adjustments. Sometimes that involves big decisions and sometimes it takes on the form of small attitude adjustments.

I find even the smallest changes in my behavior can have long lasting impact.

Here is an example, years ago when I moved into our house, I was beside myself with excitement. It was a stretch for us financially at the time but we stretched and we were in! In the haze of finding the perfect home, I never really looked at the small (built in1929) kitchen. I didn’t realize that the few cabinets that it contained where original to the house and so narrow that I couldn’t even store a dinner plate in them. Sob. So I did what every good woman would do, I started to complain. A LOT. About a month in, Tom looked at me and asked, “Why can’t you just be content?”

His words stopped me in my tracks. What did being content mean to me? As a rule, I am a pretty positive person and I had let my own words convince me that this kitchen was terrible. What once was my dream house had become my house with a glaring defect.

I needed an attitude adjustment and fast. I needed to choose to focus on the fact that it was a miracle that we even qualified for the home loan.  I needed to choose to embrace the genuine charm that this house held, small kitchen and all.


As you approach a New Year, take the time to examine was is and isn’t not working in your life and ask yourself why. Why are you not content? Do you need a big overhaul or a few minor adjustments?

I talk a lot about goals and aspirations here at Smart Creative Women. I believe strongly in moving in a forward motion in your life but I also believe in completely enjoying your life right as it is.

I don’t want to go through the motions this year or take anything for granted. I don’t want to lose the awe of living.

I don’t want where I am to feel common. I want to wake up and enjoy even the most mundane tasks because I am so blessed.

It is a small choice, a choice to be content while still working at bettering myself and my work. There is a a certain amount of rest that comes with the choice to be content, it fuels your joy.

After all, Smart Creative Women was only a figment of my imagination at this point last year and now there are over 80 episodes! I am so privileged that people have come on and shared their stories and that people are taking time out of their busy lives to listen!

This year I created a Smart Creative Dreaming Crash Course and started doing personal one on one coaching!  I have been thrilled at the response to both of these. I am just so grateful you are supporting my work.

I would encourage you this year to take what is inside of you and develop it, fan the flame inside yourself, with a joyful content heart.  Thank you for making  Smart Creative Women part of your journey.




  • Gena

    Love, love, love your commitment to be content in life.  I, too, have purchased a new home, a condo actually, and am forcing myself to be grateful for the beauty that surrounds it and the way it makes my husband happy.  I’m not a condo person. I hate the windows in the front and back concept of housing.  Sunshine makes me happy and an end unit would provide much more sunshine with windows on three sides instead of only on the ends.  We could have afforded an end unit, but my husband created a budget and those units were out of budget.  He is allowing me to totally re-decorate the unit with minimal input and a very generous budget.  Time for me to appreciate what I have and to realize that I am truly blessed.  I’m so glad to have found your blog.  I appreciate and enjoy all that you do.  Continued success!

    • Thank you Gena! Boy, I guess talking about houses hits a nerve, right? Sunshine is UBER important to me as well!.

  • Felicia

    Happy new year Monica! this is a great post, to complain is human nature, to realise we’re doing it and step back to appreciate what we have is a gift.
    I heard a great saying that was something like, everything you have today was once a wild dream…. so true!
    Did you ever change your kitchen???
    I’m really looking forward to learning more from your guests this year, on my “in my wildest dreams” list for 2013 I wrote, ” Be interviewed for Smart Creative women”… now i’ll have to work on my business so its worth talking about!!

    • I did change my kitchen simply by adding a wall of “new” kitchen cabinets to big blank wall. We certainly couldn’t bring ourselves to take down the upper original cabinets. I aslo added a butcher block island fot more counter space but the footprint remains the same! Only one person cooking at a time! haha!

  • Desha Peacock

    Hi Monica, I love this post. It’s so easy to focus on “the small kitchen”. I also love my house and don’t love my small kitchen, but spending 20k on updating it would make me feel more tied to my house and that takes away from the feeling of freedom that I want- so in the end, it’s all back to that question- what do we really want? Updating the kitchen will feel good for a bit, and then it’s something else- so yes, we have to be happy where we are b/c it’s ALWAYS a process. 

    Also, HUGE congrats for 80 episodes in one year. That is really AMAZING. 
    Happy New Year 
    xo Desha

    • ha! man, I know about putting money in a house-we did add a bathroom and it has been fabulous!! Somethings were just necessary if we ever wanted to resell it. And thank you for the congrats! we need to get together!!!

  • joanne

    I am a lot older than you are but I still need to hear this advice. Thank you for reminding us and thank you for offering your curiosity and rich experiences to everyone this year.

    • Oh Joanne, I love that-“offering my curiosity” I had not thought of it like that! Thank you!

  • MaryJane Mitchell

    Hello Monica and Happy New Year to you from a lady who also has a small kitchen but makes it work and loves her life.
    What you have to say in this blog really hits home.  We do need to move forward in our creative pursuits but we still need to live in the moment and appreciate what we have been blessed with.  
    I think you have done very well this year and should be proud of your many accomplishments.
    From one designer and artist to another, thank you for being there and creating “Smart Creative Women.”  You have given the design community a fantastic forum and a place to listen to the many words of wisdom from other people in our field. 

    All my love and creative energy to you and your pursuits in 2013.
    I will be listening to your interviews.

    thanks again

  • Dr Elisabeth Crim

    Great New Year Message Monica!!!!  Thank you…Contentment….

  • Caroline Pereira

    So glad to read your always positive message ! We had a great conversation on a rooftop during Alt in New york this summer 😉 a very good memory for me.
    Bonne et heureuse année 2013
    Caroline from France

    • Oh yes! A very good memory for me as well! I do hope you are well and happy at the start of this new year, Caroline!