Someone that I know recently lumped me into a group of "unsuccessful" people. "I am the only successful one," were the exact words used.
I find this to be an interesting judgement. Looking from one perspective, a sad and dark one, I guess you could say I have experienced some failures. I had a failed marriage. I was a stay-at-home mom (unless you count teaching ballet...doesn't really count, does it?). I went back to work and started over in my mid-thirties. Financially it is not easy to raise three boys who are bottomless pits and have extracurricular interests, but I manage. If these setbacks are evidence of failure, then I am a failure. And that is fine with me.
By my definition, I am more successful than the person making this judgement will ever hope to be. In the midst of hell, I managed to emerge from it with three well-adjusted children. They are healthy and happy. They are smart and talented. They are not without bumps and bruises, but I think that their trials will make them stonger, more empathetic men.
I have a great family. I have great friends. I am never without someone with whom to talk or do things. I am supported. I have people I can and have called for help in a crisis and they are there without queston.
I try to balance my children and my own life. I spend time with my children and make time when I can for myself (an impossible balancing act with which every parent struggles). I have worked hard on working my way back from a very dark time, and feel like I have found a place of happiness and fun.
The others who were also relegated to this unfortunate group are like me...not without struggle or hardships in life, but able to make a life and be happy with what they have. One is a working mom who, with her husband, supports her children. She struggles with guilt over leaving them, but makes the best of it and is happy. Another stays at home with her children but makes financial sacrifice to do so, and she is happy. And on and on.
My definition of success is obviously very different from The Rock's (as in dumb as a...or cold as a...). The Rock only judges success by financial achievement. To me that is cold and heartless. If The Rock would look a little closer, maybe the void of close relationships would be a glaring sign that that kind of success isn't really success at all.
I don't underdsand people who chose to judge others as "less than." That judgement in and of itself shows a lack of understanding of happiness. The "take others down to build yourself up" mentality. As with the ones who think I am going to hell (see previous blog post) I am in good company of others who are "unsuccessful."
I will happily take their company and go on our merry way. I chose not to be a rock, but a light and fluffy cloud floating happily through life.
Monday, November 1, 2010
Last night, Halloween, we went to the annual party at the Whitlocks. They invite our Sunday School class and maybe a few others. They make chili and everyone brings a side, and then about 45 people go trick-or-treating together. Very fun.
The thing that made it fun this year is that the Whitlocks are moving. That's not the fun part...the fun part is that we are going to rent their house. It has 4 bedrooms instead of three. Luke thinks this is heaven. He is the only one who has never had his own room and doesn't let me forget it. It has a pool. We all think that is heaven. It is better than the house we are in now in every way.
It is a little more than we pay now, so I told the boys to be more frugal in the things that they ask for and in eating out. We can do it, I know. But I have noticed the the last few years of struggle, that I suddenly worry more. It was very different having someone with whom to shoulder the burden of decision-making and worry. Even if it was just an illusion. And it was an illusion. I try to remember that I was in it alone for all of those years, so now I don't have to ask an opinion, I just do it. Still, sometimes the illusion was more comforting that nothing.
Since I decided to make this move, I have these feelings that I don't deserve to have more and better. I don't know why I feel that way. Maybe it's because I have had to ask for help in the last few years. I had to live with my parents when Joseph's seizures were still so active. I work for my dad. I do my job and bring in money, but I still wonder how I would do somewhere else. I guess the bottom line is that my confidence is shaken. It has taken time and tons of effort to get back to "normal" in the last five years. I guess it will just take more time to feel like I really know what I am doing.
Whenever I feel like I am not where I would like to be, I apply the "Six Month Rule." Am I better off than I was six months ago? I think I am, and after Christmas, we can say that we are without a doubt!