Everywhere I look I see people who are reaching for extraordinary heights, writing best-selling novels, building multi-million-dollar brands, inventing tech, and exploding start-ups. There is a blogger selling tips and tricks for every niche, a life coach around every bend who can help me get my life in tip-top shape, and endless self-help books all promising to propel me into the stratosphere among the greats. The possibilities are boundless. Sounds exciting, right?
Not to me.
It sounds like working incredibly hard and only cashing in if I also win the lottery. These “techniques” promise success for those who are willing to outwork the others, but what isn’t being promoted is that a lot of people work hard and never make it to the top. There’s a lot more to success like timing, your network, and sometimes just dumb luck.
Did you know most successful authors do not have social media accounts? They spend more time writing and less time connecting with their audience. After reading Cal Newport, I would guess they are choosing to spend more time in deep work, less time in the busy tasks of marketing.
Now you’re thinking I’m just lazy, right? She’s just upset because she doesn’t have what it takes. She couldn’t commit, sacrifice, or maybe she’s just not smart enough.
Perhaps you’re right, but I think those who really know me would argue against that sentiment.
Being at the top of a wildly successful company, flying from state to state for book signings, or having thousands of fans to correspond with does not sound enticing. Rather it sounds daunting, distracting, and overwhelming.
Several years ago, someone explained why they thought a life without work was a life without purpose. Their argument was so compelling I bought into it. Now many years later I have discovered while that may be true for them, it is certainly not true for me. I am able to find meaning in my life without my job.
The heart wants what it wants
My ideal world, my ultimate dream is to become a lady of leisure with financial independence. No, not a prostitute. Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography introduced me to the turn of phrase, Gentleman of leisure, which was what we think of as retirement. Official work is significantly reduced or stopped, and hobbies are increased.
Financial independence would afford me the luxury of writing anything I want, and it would remain untainted by marketing. It would pure art, available if desired, but not for sale. Anyone could read my work if they chose.
Spending all my time reading, writing, and engaging my mind with the arts is what I often fantasize of. I’d love to learn to play the piano, fluently speak other languages, and experiment with painting.
If not for fame and fortune, why do I write?
What am I doing? Why am I writing? Does anyone even read this blog?
So many good questions.
What am I doing? I am living my life and trying to improve as a human being along the way.
Why am I writing? To document my expansion and contraction through the human experience.
Does anyone even read this blog? Sometimes.
What I share with you is not some polished advice that I have fact-checked against the experts and recreated several times through scientific experiments. These stories are real, ordinary life. Sometimes my life takes me on grand adventures, but most of the time I prefer the mundane routine.
If you love magazine style blogs with HD pictures, step-by-step how-to’s, organizations tips, and unfailing expert advice, you have come to the wrong place, my friend. These are stories from a flawed human learning as she makes her way through this journey called life. I get it wrong more than I get it right. I have made spectacular messes in my life.
So why should you waste your time reading my stories? Well, if you truly see it as a waste, you definitely should not. These words are real. Life is not linear and neither are the experiences you will find here.
I’m connecting, sharing, painting a portrait. Some artists use paint, others photography, my medium is written language. I’m recording the human condition, my journey. Real life. Feelings, reactions, hopes, dreams, disappointments, crushing defeat.
I write to learn. Writing forces me to look deeper, to pull off the superficial layer, poke around in the subcutaneous, and plunge further until I understand to a degree that I can feel the rhythm of the words, the harmony of the story. To someone who doesn’t write, I’m sure that sounds like hooey, malarkey, but I assure you that is the truth.
Ultimately, I write for my children. They will have a piece of me to reflect back on with once I am gone. While words are not as warm and comforting as a mothers hug, they are also not victim to faulty memories. My children will remember just as I record myself.
Once people leave us we forget small things first like the way they smell, the sound of their laugh, the glint of their eyes when they see something beautiful. We rely on the memory of the big moments like weddings, the birth of children, birthdays to carry us through. All our memories serve a purpose, but it is the every day, small, mundane routines, and habits that truly make us who we are. The big events happen once, but making a cup of coffee with just a splash of hazelnut creamer every morning at 5:30 am as I prepare to sit down at my desk and write for an hour is part of who I am at my core.
It’s my hope that my children will accept the flawed state of their own humanity and love themselves as they are. I don’t want to portray a perfect life or that I have all the answers because I don’t. I don’t believe anyone does. I believe we are all beautifully broken and it is where we are broken that we find communion with each other. It’s not over our strengths that we bond, but over our weaknesses. Strengths are cause for celebration, weaknesses are cause for meaningful journeys.
It should be noted my children don’t read most of my work. It’s a bit too adult. Maybe they won’t until the day I stop existing. Perhaps that is when they will become interested in reading about me as a human and my personal journey. That is perfectly fine. Maybe they will never read my work at all. That does make me sad, but we are all different. I can’t expect my preferred expression to be the same as theirs.
Am I a failure?
All around me people are working towards incredible goals. For a time, I had a fear of missing out. I joined in on the journey for grandiose ideals. The result was a crumbled heap of unhappiness and stress. Now, I have accepted I thrive in the simple and most importantly I have answered my “why”.
Please don’t mistake me, this is not an attempt to talk others into a simple life, but rather an encouragement for you to find your own unique path. This is a cheering section for leaning into your personality instead of always being in conflict with it.
So, am I a failure? It’s all a matter of opinion. In my own, humble opinion I am not a failure. Nothing needs fixing, this is just who I am. I wish we could celebrate each other more freely for our individuality rather than constantly try to get us all to fit in one little box. Here’s to your own unique, beautifully flawed, wonderful spirit! May you shine like a beacon of hope in the darkness for others <3
Join the #GoodVibeTribe @ Surviving Life’s Curveballs for more truth, compassion, and encouragement.