My younger self looking at this picture would say this is the definition of success. As this was the dream I had my whole life: to have a family. Not to mention this looks like a pretty good looking family, minus the fact the little one is doing anything to not be in the picture. This picture is what I thought would never happen for me because of chronic pain and it did! So yes, that is success!
But there is a lot more wisdom and knowledge I have now than I did in my younger years. I am so torn with what success is for me. Maybe not so torn but having dilemmas with what society and the people in my life define success as. Money is a big aspect of success for many people. And, who is to argue with that? In this world, money makes things a lot more easier. And I do not believe money buys happiness but it does help a LOT. Not even speaking materialistically (clothes, makeup, cars etc.) but for healthy food, health insurance, college etc. I obviously knew going into social work that I would never make a lot of money, so I do not believe money means success. I started this blog to help people dealing with chronic pain and many people will ask me: “wow, you could maybe make some money doing this!” OR “how will you be able to really help people writing a blog about chronic pain?” To me being successful is finding a way to help people deal with something that took me ten years plus to find help with. It is successful to me when someone writes me that my blog has inspired them even if it just helped them see that they are not alone or that they can live a life happily with chronic pain.
Success is also raising a happy, healthy daughter. I’m doing a pretty good job of that so far I believe but I struggle every day with silly questions like: did I play with her enough, did I give her enough healthy food at dinner, am I truly being the best mom I can be? Some days I feel like I am the best mom in the world and some days I feel there is so much more I could be doing for my little daughter. I think most mothers deal with this. We are constantly wondering whether we are doing everything “right.”
Ten years ago looking at this picture knowing I was dealing with chronic pain naturally and in a healthy manner that would have been enough for me! It still should be. So why isn’t that success enough for me? I think if I had to define my most successful days, they are the days when I am playing with Kayci totally absorbed in her happiness, or when I am laughing so hard a little bit of pee comes out (it happens, just being honest) or when I can go to sleep knowing I helped someone out there deal with something that no one else wanted to help them with. I know that I am a successful person. Society may feel differently and a lot of times I allow the media and people around me to change my mind of what is success. My Aunt was visiting us a few months ago and I was in the middle of feeding Kayci breakfast, cutting up chicken and veggies to throw in the crock pot, and had just come home from a four mile run. She looked at me and said: “You have come a long way, kid!”
In my heart I know what success means to me but it is really hard when the world around me sees success in such a different manner. Not many people can overcome brain surgery, manage chronic pain naturally, and balance motherhood and just plain adulthood the way I have been able to. That should be enough. I hope that each day/week/year I become more “successful.” Even if that means just being happy with where I am and just being able to let go of fear and smile and appreciate everything I have.