Today is my birthday and I’m sitting in the garden listening to the birds. Watching them fly, have dirt baths and knock each other into the pond. In this quiet serenity, my mind always wonders. I don’t know if this is something that everyone does but when my birthday rolls around it always makes me contemplative. I’m always hard on myself and usually career-wise. It’s something I’ve noticed getting worse each passing year.
I’m now 36 and comfortably in my mid-thirties. I’m the person that I want to be. I’m a wife, mother and a creative professional. It’s the last one, my career, that I am hardest of all with myself. As creatives, it always seems like the goal posts are moving. As a writer /blogger, your initial following is inspiring. You’re excited that others think the same as you do or want to hear from you more and that people like your work.
At your first thousand you can’t believe you are in triple figures and then the fear and second-guessing start to rise and pretty soon you are creating not for you but for an audience but sometimes that takes you on a path that you never intended. Somewhere in the last 5 years, I have unconciously started to check myself on my birthday. Weigh up the pros and cons of what it is that I am doing and where it is that I am going and today of all days I find myself listening to The Greatest Showman and asking myself the question “What is enough”?
What is Enough?
As creatives, it is really hard to define your own success. It’s even harder not to compare yourself to others but yet we do because there are so many other things to consider other than the financial bottom line. Am I where I thought I would be when I started the Notebook, no but I love what I do and I have had an amazing journey so far. But as I sit here in the garden I’m wracking my brains as to answer the question “what is enough?” Is it when I reach 10K followers or when my blog and podcast are self supporting without any other VA work. Is it when I publish my first set of essays or my first book?
This journey has been a rollercoaster. There are times when it is the best job in the world but take my word for it, it is stressful and hard work at times but I work when it suits our lives. That is the payoff. I’m not sure where I will be a year from now but I am learning to celebrate my successes as they happen. To be proud of things that I would have shrugged at in the past. It’s hard to point at something and say “Hey guess what? I did a great job there” because it always sounds like I’m being a twat but if we aren’t getting behind the work that we do, why would we expect others to support/promote us. Why can’t we stand up and shout “Hey I did this thing and it was AWESOME!”
I’m unsure if it’s the addition of another number to my age that makes me freak out about a career path. That by climbing a particular path professionally will make me happy when I have 2 kids and a loving husband. Nothing we have is massive by any standards but I love it all. This cottage by the sea, our family and our jobs that support it, so why is that not enough and why, when my birthday rolls around do I put myself down and pressure myself to do and be better.
Defining our own success is one thing but how do you know you’re successful when you aren’t entirely sure how to define success or what it looks like?
So, for this birthday, I’m going to enjoy our half-finished garden with the lawn that needs to be mowed. My wonderful blog and podcast and my sleepy toddlers and one very tired and handsome husband. I’m not quite sure that I really need anything else, except cake. Because everyone needs cake 😉
And in the spirit of celebrations, I did this thing and it was AWESOME. Yip that’s my image on the front cover of Woollinn’s Festival Programme. So for me, 2018 is already a win 🙂
Raising a glass to you all on my birthday and if any of you can point me where to go from here it will be very much appreciated
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