Thursday, May 3, 2012

I generally try to keep my blog about crafts, because you're not interested in hearing me wax philosophical about crap, but apparently, I feel the need to wax today, so bear with me.

It's my 39th birthday today. I have been depressed about this for weeks, I think, without even realizing it. Running like a broken record through the back of my head is this..."You're old, and you have nothing to show for your life."

It's true. I have no glamorous or even respectable career. I have a job. A 17 hour a week job as a secretary in a Jr. High. Most people immediately look down their noses when they hear that. In their minds it equals, under achiever, slacker, loser. And for some time now, I have allowed myself to believe them.

For years, I thought I would finally feel like I had had a successful life if I owned my own home. I equated home ownership with validation. Like I could finally start to be a real person if my own name was on the mortgage. Guess what? We are buying our first house and...I still feel like a loser! My magic cure all was another empty let down. And I realized, I can't measure my success by what I own, or where I work. I have tried to buy validation for years now. Like having cute furniture, and lots of accessories cluttering up my home would somehow make me feel like I was worthy. (In a way, I understand why hoarders do what they do, they are trying to buy their own self worth, and that isn't something you can pick up off a store shelf!)

I read an article today through a link on Facebook...10 things they won't tell you at graduation, or something like that. And it clarified a few things for me.

#1- I didn't set out to change the world. That was never MY goal, but I have listened to people tell me for 20 years that it should be, and I have judged myself harshly for not living up to the world's expectations. But guess what? I did EXACTLY what I wanted to do the day I graduated. I got married to a man I adore, and I had children. I quit working and stayed home to be with my kids, and when they got older, and I was able to go out and get a job, I still did exactly what I wanted, I found a job that made me available to my family. I work when they are at school, and I'm home when they are. I am there to help with their homework, I am there to listen to them cry over their broken hearts, I am there to spend time with them during summer break and school holidays. I am doing what I always wanted to do. I am a Mom, and that's all I ever really hoped for! Now I'm not saying that mom's who work full time are bad, or less of a mother than I am. I am saying that they had their goals, and I had mine, and my goal was to be there with my kids! I am not a failure, I'm a success, and I feel very blessed to be able to have stayed home with my kids, I know many people who wanted to, but for various reasons were unable to.

#2- I have a job that people look down their noses at, but guess what? I love my job. I look forward to going to work. I enjoy the people that I work with, and I am grateful that my job is flexible and allows me to put my family first. I'm grateful that I don't have to work to support my family. I'm grateful that I have a job that I enjoy (Cuz many people don't).

All in all, when people look at me, they don't see someone who conquered the world, but I'm tired of being judged by other people's expectations. I accomplished exactly what I set out to do. It may not be their idea of success, but I refuse to feel like a failure anymore! At least for today, but I know myself well enough to know that I allow my self perception to be colored by other people's expectations, but for today, I am going to be proud of myself and what I have accomplished.

My kids aren't geniuses, the aren't super star athletes, they aren't the next American Idol. They are just kids, normal kids, average kids, and that's OK, because they are happy kids =0) I refuse to feel like a failure because my kids aren't one of the 2%. They are enough for me =0)

And just for you, here's the link to the article.


tpott said...

Hi, this is the first time I've been to your blog (I'll be back). I'm 47, I really understand how you feel, at least I think I do. I also did not set out to rule the world. I got married at 22, bought our first home at 24. I had a job starting with babysitting at 14, ending when I was a 41 yr old dental asst. I had my only child a son at 35, I wanted to be a stay at home mom, it didn't happen at that time. At 40 I got breast cancer. After breast cancer surgery, treatments and everything else that goes with it, I ended up with lymphadema. It's a permanent swelling of my arm and hand that can be painful at times. I now wear a compression glove and sleeve everyday, all day. Unfortunately I cannot do my job anymore. I am now a stay at home mom. My son was 6 when this started he's now 12. Shortly after I completed treatment we found out my son has ADHD. I am now home for him, for school, drs, therapies and summer vacations. I didn't do any of the things you thought/ I thought would make people think I was an accomplished person. After always second guessing myself, I KNOW I'm where I should be. I'm HERE for my son, he's happy, he's well cared for and he's loved. After everything that has happened, there was a different plan for me. I'm where I need to be, I think everything happens for a reason. If you're happy and your family is happy, you've accomplished your goal, you should be very happy with yourself. Sometimes what you think other people have is just an elusion. Sorry this is so long. You should be happy with what you have, it sounds like you have everything you need. Happy Birthday!!! ;-> Toni Anne

Karen said...

Hi, I just emailed you.

Love your blog!


Linda said...

I turn 49 this kids but married to a man who adores me...caregiving for both of my parents. No one ever really changes the world. Glad you are turning around your negativity. To quote someone..."most people are as happy as they make up their minds to be". You are on your way there!

Mrs. JP said...

I am in my 50's, I haven't set the world on fire, so to speak. During this time of change (my thyroid issues, etc.) this year I've been where you are and I am learning what it means to be happy right where I am. I am a people pleaser from WAY BACK. I do not like that about myself BUT in it's place that trait spurs me to serve others. My family loves me, my relationship with Jesus Christ validates my every breath and that is enough.
I blame magazines for making women expect to much. Even in the catalogs for plus sizes the women are thin! Give me a break.
Thanks for giving me a platform to rant :O)
You are doing what you are called to do.

Twisted Chicken said...

A few years ago I found a saying that I have really come appreciate.

What other people think of me is none of my business.

It took a while for me to really understand how to incorporate that thinking into my own thinking. Since I've been actively working at it, though, it has been so freeing for me. Now I spend my time and energy working to improve what I think of myself because that's what I can change and that's what impacts me most. No more wasted time (well, much less time, at least) caring what others are thinking of me...that's their business, not mine.

I love your blog and I *love* your projects! I think you are an incredibly skilled and talented artist.