Thursday, December 15, 2011

Radvent Day 15: Success

I feel most successful when I'm organized and I have simplified my life and surroundings.

Notice: I didn't say when life is simple, but when I have simplified. 

There is nothing more satisfying to me that checking things off the list, crossing off goals, throwing out excess baggage and narrowing down your to-do list to just your most important responsibilities. I don't know if that's how I would broadly define success, but that's what makes me feel successful in my daily life.

Growing up I was taught that success = marriage, babies, religion, house -- a rigid picture that every woman should fit into to be successful. Within that picture you must be "normal" and a "good" person. I don't think I ever really understood what that meant or looked like, or how one got to it. Mostly though, I wasn't really interested. I took a harder path that made me an unsuccessful, not very "normal" or "good" person, perhaps even a failure, on the outside. I knew I appeared that way and I resented it because I never really believed that about myself.

I know I worked 10x harder than I ever would have otherwise after B came along, and I began to form my own understanding of success that had more to do with personal improvement and building a career. I saw success as being able to balance it all and kick butt at everything -- being a mom, being an interesting person and having a successful career. I set some lofty goals for myself that haven't really changed since then, and I am still working at them. I wouldn't say that I feel successful yet.

My goals for the coming year are:

1. Start a career in my field that will pay the rent and put food on the table.
2. Raise some money for the theater.
3. Move into a house, immediately plant a garden and try to start living more green/sustainable.
4. Get married and travel abroad.
5. Improve my exercise and sleep schedules (kind of battling my body right now).

I think those things are do-able if I work hard, and they will make me feel the sense of accomplishment and security that I don't have at the moment. Sometimes I think I need to be more easily satisfied with myself, and wonder if I will know when I am finally Successful (or am successful enough).

I was just talking to my friend Sabrina about wanting to give back to people in need because I have gotten so much help over the years. I feel like my progress toward success for myself and my family is also for the world, making it better, building community, giving back. Maybe I will finally feel like a success when I'm doing that. I definitely want to take that suggestion to ask other successful people that I admire what their secret is.

To brighten my perspective on my own success, I dug through my external hard drive and looked for pictures of times that I felt successful. If you're interested, here is a little stroll through the last 9 years of my life:
made a beautiful, big footed boy
 first apartment
 finally took that Hanson roadtrip with Wendy
 was a good gymnastics and cheerleading coach, if i do say so myself
adopted these guys and kept them
brought Hanson to Dallas
 became a Bachelor of Arts with honors (wore fab shoes)
 helped put on this amazing film festival and fell in love with this guy in the process
worked hard and showed them how it's done at this film festival
 got to be around for these guys' friendship
 helped make this movie
 threw the party of the century
 broke away
 shot on 35mm
 helped make part of this movie
 moved to NYC (but never learned how video works...)
 spent time at Criterion
 lived here
became a Master of Arts, MIAP = conquered


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  2. adopted these guys and kept them; cleaned up a little along the way; never even changed my shirt