Define: Success

One of the things I struggle with is placing value on the things I do that fall outside the realm of a paid career. Which, really, is everything.

I don’t know if it’s because I used to think (assume?) that one day I would have a J.O.B. or if it comes from somewhere else, but I feel like I’m not contributing or something.

Maybe it’s just that I’m down today. The girls had a birthday party yesterday and it was great. I wore a pretty raspberry coloured knee length dress and asked Steve to take pictures of me in it for Friday’s post. I felt great through the party and then after everyone left and I got a chance to look at the pictures, I hated how it looked on me. It looked like a stupid sack, not flattering at all and it bummed me out.

A friend of ours, well, a co-worker/acquaintance of Steve’s, brought her 2 year old to the party and we chatted and she’s very nice. But after I hang out with her, it always makes me feel like a slacker. This is ridiculous, I know. But here she is, pretty much the same age as me, working at a really ambitious career in a male dominated industry balancing it all and making close to six figures. Not that the money matters, but I just… I don’t know.

I’m 30 on Sunday and someone asked me if I was taking it hard. And I’m not, because I have every tangible thing that I could want. My kids, my husband, my health. I’ve run marathons and raised thousands of dollars for charity. I coach run clinics that I love and I’m going to be a TA in the fall and yet? There’s this place that’s empty.

It doesn’t come around as often, and it doesn’t stay as long but here we are. Me with my misconstrued definition of success that only ever permits me to be not quite enough.

What makes this go away? I can’t remember when it’s here, because all I feel is this cloud of anxiety. I get angry at everyone – want to push them away, hurt them somehow. I rehash every wrong doing against me and bring it all back up again, only to fume and sit on it. The circles under my eyes are dark and I snap, easily.

I’m worried about money and our lack of savings account. We’re in debt, though actively making headway upwards. We went to Ottawa and want to go again in September for another race and then Team Diabetes invited me to run a half marathon in the Cayman Islands with no cost to myself so of course I said yes but Steve wants to come and I want him there and looking at all these numbers and trying to figure out ways to save and then to build some savings makes my head spin because we also want want want and how, exactly, does one rectify greed and desire with frugal living?

To stay more positive, I need to praise myself. It sounds so silly, but it works. I must remember that I am worthy of love because I am able to love. We each have this spark of fire inside of us and it’s what keeps up burning, keeps up going. We can smother it without knowing but we can also fan it and let it flame. I must always remember to let it burn. Bright and strong. That fire will keep me positive. That fire will burn brighter through my 30’s than it ever did through my 20’s.

2 Comments on “Define: Success

  1. Can I just say…I don’t even know and only came over here because I connected so much with what you were writing on Bodies in Motivation but, I admire you. You are honest and open, you are a great mother which must shine through in everything that you do, you seem to have such a strong and supportive relationship with your husband, you are an athlete that manages to find time to do marathons, half marathons, triathlons, etc. AND you coach a run clinic?!
    I just thought you might need to hear how you come across in your writing – strong, passionate, sure of yourself (in that you know that you have flaws if that makes sense), someone who cares deeply who would make a fantastic friend. You might find it hard to believe but I bet people feel like a slacker after talking to you! 🙂
    It’s funny though how we can sabotage ourselves, isn’t it? I had that exact same feeling with a dress for my daughter’s third birthday party two weeks ago. I felt fantastic in it but can’t believe how bad I think I look in the pictures. You are not alone.

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