In this guest post by Vanessa Salas, you’re going to discover how much you are unique and that you don’t have to follow someone else’s path to success. Instead, just focus on what makes YOU happy.
“Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement”.
- Bill Watterson
Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve chosen the practical, sensible path instead of following your bliss?
I have. I had a stable job in the financial services industry for 15 years.
In this job, I was exposed to exceptionally talented and extremely motivated women out to smash the corporate glass ceiling. I remember one particular VP at that firm. She was a fast talking, no-nonsense woman who was, and still is, able to juggle a fulfilling career and a successful family life. And she does it all while wearing impeccably fashionable clothes and beautiful stilettos.
I thought, “She’s the person I should emulate.”
I wanted to fit that mold. I went through usual steps toward that path: I learned as much I can, became a workaholic, focused on the job.
While I wasn’t exactly miserable, I also knew, in the deepest recesses of my being, that it was not what I was meant to do. And yet I stayed because it was the practical, responsible, right thing to do.
I continued working there out of fear: fear of following my own path, fear of starting from scratch, fear of the unknown, & fear of leaving the security of a stable job that slowly siphoned off my energy for creative pursuits.
You see, I’ve always wanted to be a writer.
As a child, it was what I dreamed of being. I love hearing and telling stories. I love the sense of community it fosters.
I prefer collaboration to competition. I lean toward abundance instead of a scarcity or dog-eat-dog mentality. I choose to be generous with my time and resources instead of hoarding knowledge to advance my career, solely for my own personal gain.
If I were to truly listen to my inner voice, I’m content with not keeping up with the latest gadget, or fashion trend. I feel so much fuller writing & creating, instead of being a consumer.
But writing is also a risky profession. It is not practical, stable, or profitable, at least until the stars align perfectly in your favor so that you become the next JK Rowling or Stephen King. I was also insecure about my writing prowess.
So I stayed. And lived the much touted cliche of quiet desperation.
Becoming a mother was the catalyst that forced me to reassess my priorities. It led me to finally leave the job that I thought I needed to hold on to.
I wanted to be a hands on mother to my child. I could not bear to have someone else do the important task of molding him into the person he was meant to be.
I also found out for myself how tough mothering can be. It has tested my patience, perseverance, and inner reserves to its limits.
But I was trained to work outside the house and was told not to “waste” my college education. So many other wonderful mothers were able to juggle these two roles successfully, why can’t I?
The simple answer is that I am not those other mothers. As much as I want to be the female VP that I emulated, that just wasn’t – isn’t – who I am. Smashing the corporate glass ceiling is not for me.
I am grateful for the option to stay at home with my child while my husband brings home the bacon. I’ve been given this wonderful opportunity to embrace motherhood in my own terms. I view it as a disservice to myself and my son if I did not grab the chance to mother him the way I am able to.
I still struggle with bouts of insecurity and sometimes listen to the “practical” voice in my head.
But becoming a mother is the most fulfilling job I’ve ever had.
The welcome bonus is that I’ve found the time to write again. While I’m not out to pen the next great Filipino novel or become the next JK Rowling, it is an activity that allows me to stay the course & foster a sense of community.
Simply put: I love being a mother. I love writing. Focusing on these two activities, to the exclusion of everything else that I was told I’m “supposed” to be, has brought me tremendous fulfillment and joy.
What about you?
What are your two most important activities that you want to focus on?
Vanessa Salas is a homemaker, freelance writer, pursuer of mindful living ideas, & former corporate cog. She drinks too much coffee and not enough wine. In her blog [shedmom.com] she writes about cherishing the essentials, tossing excess baggage, and warming home & heart. Find her on twitter. @vansalas.
Photo Credit: by Wickerfurniture
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