Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Self portrait and reflection

Having a long term plan - is that the only way to become a successful adult?

I keep asking myself this question, trying to work out a satisfactory answer.  You see I find it impossible to plan anything when my future is so wide open.  In fact, I have no idea what I want to do with my life!

I want to be happy. I know what makes me happy today, but I can't pretend to know what will make me happy in, say, five years time.  Will it be the exact same things as today? I hope not - wouldn't that get boring??

I want to keep evolving as a person.  No ruts please!

I want to be passionate about my hobbies.

Happy-evolving-passionate...successful? It's not exactly a plan.   It's not exactly drifting, either (unless I am deceiving myself).  So how do I go about being happy, evolving and passionate?

The passion comes easy...I get wrapped up in whatever project I am working on - blogging, photography, thrifting are a few of my latest obsessions.  While I don't know how to measure personal  growth, I am willing to try things that make me slightly uncomfortable - once in a while (such as posting my first self portrait online!).  As for happiness? Well, here are a few things that made me happy today:
- fresh laundered sheets
- hearing 'thank you mommy'
- baby smiles
- reading a blog post that I really connect to
- a clean, beautiful, functioning home
- blog comments!!!

I am not sure how clean sheets, thrifting, and playing with my boys could lead to any sort of success.  I can't base a career upon any of them.  Do I pin my hopes for the future on the blog?  I haven't, although it is tempting.  I think approaching 8foot6 as a possible business opportunity might change the way I blog, no?

See - no answers! Just more questions!

Do I need to spin my passions into businesses in order to be someone someday?
Do other stay-at-home moms have a long term plan?P
Is it possible to become a success by taking life on - one.day.at.a.time? 

If you have some answers, or insight, or just want to leave your two cents - I'd love to hear from you!

********Update*******
Thank you to everyone who commented on this post...you have given me a lot (more) to think about! I love hearing your point of view!

62 comments:

  1. firstly..great photo...and kudos for doing it. I still need more guts to do that and well, a decent picture. Sadly I don't have any answers for you. I have a 'career/job' whatever you want to call it, a great family and all that and am still kinda left floating...wanting more. I'm a believer in making goals for yourself...and aiming for them...do they all have to connect in a nice neat package? not so sure. happy-passionate-evolving-successul...sounds like a great plan to me. If you can achieve all of them at the same time great...if you don't...it won't be that bad either will it? man, i think its time for me to seriously reflect too!

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  2. I guess we both feel the same. I think the biggest thing is to base success on your own standards. If raising your boys to be great people is part of the plan, then you can feel successful being at home with them right?
    I'm with you - I want to be happy... and I want B and Halle to be happy to. I want to lead a happy loving life with both of them... right now that is my focus... I can build from there!

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  3. Focus on the journey, not the destination (Anderson). I think that applies to my life. While I have a 9-5 job and have managed to have what the world considers a career, with people reporting to me, management meetings, conferences, car allowance, etc. I don't go into work and think that I have to be at xyz in five years from now. I do different things, my interests change and I focus on what I like to do, which includes the blog for now. Will I be blogging in 2 years, I don't know? Will I be gardening, cooking, sewing, open a store? I don't know...if it was up to my mind I'd be doing all of that and then some, preferably with much success ;), but then my body says, please just let me sleep.
    If your choice of the journey is being a stay at home mother, that's a great journey and a career much harder than any corporate one.

    My two cents is, enjoy life and do what you enjoy doing if you have the luxury to do so. I count my blessings that I'm not forced to do a job I hate and that I have the luxury to expand beyond my 9-5.
    BTW - beautiful photo.

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  4. So many questions! :) But you did seem to say that "clean sheets, thrifting, and playing with my boys" makes you happy, but you wondered if it "could lead to any sort of success." In my life, I've distinguished different kinds of "success." I consider myself financially successful because I have a well-paying job. But am I passionate about my job? No. But that doesn't mean I'm not successful. For me, right now, having financial security is a choice that I've made, even though blogging all day would be a more passionate choice. Sometimes you can have it all, but not all at once. If staying at home with your boys, makes you happy -- then you are a success and you are a "someone" already!

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  5. Lovely picture of yours, Shannon! Cute smile! I can only share from my observation of some close friends and family who are or used to be stay-at-home moms. I admire them for keeping the family together, loving their kids (though their kids might hate them now for not being cool), taking courses (some even taking up a new degree program) to stay current, and learning things they are passionate about such as upholstery, culinary art, musical instrument, etc. I would've defined success so differently when I was younger, but now, I see these women very successful in life in their own way. And I am sure they've accomplished that with some planning but most importantly living the life one.day.at.a.time. Some women really can have everything.

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  6. At each stage of my life, I've defined 'success' differently. And realized that certain things that didn't feel terribly successful at the time, were just things that I needed to help me along my way later on.

    Obviously we all need to stop and examine our lives, but I really wouldn't get too bogged down in trying to find answers right now. The stage you're in: raising 2 babies, is really an all encompassing thing. Keep finding time to indulge your own passions once in a while, which it appears you do, and then you'll find that the 'path' will show itself to you as the boys get older and need you less.

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  7. My life ended up very differently from how I thought it would be. Like Julie below, I have chosen financial stability over passion for my job. The upside? That I can leave it behind (mostly) when I go home. I see people I work with who work all the time. They never take vacations, they answer emails at all hours - i don't want to be like that. But do I want to have direction and challenge and passion? Yes. And I think I'm very lucky to be in the position where I have time to do those things. The downside of the job? I have moments of doubt - often. I worry about how meaningful my life is and whether I am who I should be. But how do we ever know who we should be? It is an ever-changing thing.
    I am mostly content. I am self-aware. I too love clean sheets and a clean house and order over mayhem. But I love art and the mystery of why people do what they do - and in that, I find meaning and yes, challenge.
    You are on a good path. You are a success. It will come to you.

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  8. FabulousDesignFileFebruary 7, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    You put into words the exact questions that I wrestle with all of the time! I feel like I should have a more concrete plan, but I always get stalled out when I try to define things too much. Your self-portrait is lovely, btw.

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  9. Oh and lovely photo! :)

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  10. "Is it possible to become a success by taking life on - one.day.at.a.time?"
    Yes!
    In taking life on one day at a time you are open to the possibilities that come your way. A basic outline is good...like you have, but a hard and fast plan can make it impossible to see what may be right in front of you becasue you are focused just beyond. If I had a plan, I never would have met my husband, married him had more children and I would *never* have owned my own business.
    What comes next? Who knows? Enjoy the journey.
    Happy Tuesday!

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  11. Beautiful shot. Love the hair cut. Hmmm, good question. I think its all about laying a foundation for something meaningful to do in the future when the kiddos are in school and we don't know what to do with ourselves. I don't think we should define ourselves with being mommies because we will have an identity crisis in a few years when our babies don't need us as much. I think we need to enjoy this time, but set goals for the future while not putting too much pressure on ourselves to do it all. Its hard balance to achieve. I haven't found it yet. I believe your blog is an excellent start and something you can spin into loftier achievements down the road.

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  12. My 20s are well behind me, and my 30s are quickly coming to a close...and frankly, I'm not sure if I feel any more 'adult' than I did when I pondered these same questions. My life has changed in many positive ways, but I still hold the same values and interests as I did when I was younger. I guess my biggest challenge has been finding a career that suits my eclectic and freedom-loving ways, which is why I'm back in school pursuing a Graduate degree. Other than that, I always hold firm to my passions and make choices based on what I love and keep dear. There will be more compromises and big decisions as you move forward, but one-day-at-a-time is the only way to go...

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  13. My first comment must have been shot into cyberspace...or you didn't like it and deleted it :)
    I go by the quote ' enjoy the journey, not the destination'...so yes, one day at a time is just fine. If being a mom is what you choose to do than kudos to you and being a success already.
    I have what is traditionally called a career - I have financial security, people reporting to me, management meetings, car allowance...I have those successes. Does that make me not question what I do every day? No. I often wonder if I made the right choice...should I work for myself, be more creative, work harder on the blog, spend more time with my kids, work part time to be home when kids get home from school, relocate for my career? Am I happy with where I am? Yes. Everyone can do anything they really want, we just have to make choices as to when we want to do what.

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  14. keeps kicking out my comments ;(

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  15. disqus thought you were spamming me :)
    all fixed up!

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  16. Ah...so many questions...you sound like me! What do I want to be when I grow up? - I wish I kept track of how many times I've asked myself that. Jeez...sometimes life just isn't easy, is it?
    I wonder why you didn't add photography into the mix...your photos are so lovely (and I'm definitely curious about your alphabet series).
    Oh - and love the hair!

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  17. Ha, and now I'm the fool with double comments :)

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  18. when I was a stay at home mom, I was in a flux. I wanted to be home, but I wanted my career because I worked so hard to education myself to be an attorney. I couldn't find work, which I perceived to be a reflection on my lack of experience and "penalty" for staying home. Now, I am full time working-out-of-home mom to 3 kids and I am caring for my mother stricken with Alzheimer's. I am overwhelmed. I am considering looking for a more flexible job that allows me to be everything for everyone. It is a struggle, but it is my job. I am a believer that you have to take life on; do something for your personal and professional growth everyday. Networking, which you just recently did with your participation at the conference, helps significantly. There is a lot of success waiting in what you've just listed, in the US we have Soulemama who has written books on those very subjects, which started from her blog. YOU CAN DO IT! And I can't wait to see how you blossom.

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  19. Tobe | Because It's AwesomeFebruary 7, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    SUCH tricky questions! I wrestle with the same ones constantly (you basically wrote the post that I couldn't write eloquently for today's birthday post!)....I say, if you're not quite sure, you just keep going. The answer is there; it just hasn't revealed itself yet. And (I sure hope) that's okay. ox

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  20. I think most of us ask ourselves the same kinds of questions almost every day. I don't even wish to have a definite answer to the "Question", looking for the answer motivates me to get out of the bed every day. Nice photo by the way, you look happy and relaxed!

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  21. I don't know what advice I have for long term plans but I LOVE fresh sheets. Honestly one of my top 10 favourite things. I agree with Sundeep that it's impossible to put a timeframe on all things - you want to still have things to go for. In career planning @ my work we suggest .525 - or 0.5years, 2years, 5years. Helps spread things out a bit while keeping everything within reach.

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  22. Great picture!

    My life goals got completely turned up-side down when I had my son. Actually it was likely a long time before that, but it came to light in the past few years. I used to be really driven to succeed in the corporate world, but now nothing seems to really matter more to me than family.

    My life is likely going to take a pretty big turn as I've put serious thought into staying at home full-time with the kids so who knows what life will bring! I didn't plan any of this and I think that's what makes it so exciting :). Just go with the flow and do what makes you happiest.

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  23. NK@StyleINGwChildrenFebruary 7, 2012 at 9:48 PM

    I'm taking a little break from blogging to figure out much of the same issues... I know two concrete things that I want: baby #2 + renos done. Beyond that I'm feel lost and confused.

    I did go back to work after Baby C, but find no purpose in my job. It is a job that brings in $$ and provides stability in our unstable economy. I can't say that I identify success with holding down a 9-5 job.

    Than there's the blog and blog land. I have to say that it is not for me. I deal much better with flesh and blood people and not with my computer. As much as I love the blog community, the commenting and getting comments, I still prefer the old fashioned getting together for a tea (or a glass of wine) and hashing things out in person. (Probably has lots to do with the fact that I'm not in TO and not able to attend the big blog events).

    For me success is an ever moving target. First success was paying for university myself, than it was getting a good job, than it was getting married, buying our first house, having a baby. For me these were markers of success. Today I would say I measure success in the opportunities I can provide for my little one (art, sports, music, travel, good school) and the luxury of a close and committed relationship with my other half.

    For me, no matter how successful or NOT I may seem from outside looking in, I feel successful and blessed by the partnership, the friendship, the family I created with him. One day at a time :) we create this home, this family, this life. And that is what success is all about. Happy, well adjusted kids, happy spouse, and friends to share tea/a glass of wine with :)

    sorry for rambling, but I think I just figured out what my 5 year plan is. A happy family. Thanks for the post!

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  24. Oh boy, do I hear what you're saying... coming from a different angle, I'm engaged to be married and working a boring day job. I'm hiping to start taking steps so that I can had a little side business that will make use more of my interests in the long run.

    I think as long as you're happy and fulfilled and there's time and joy for things you do on your own as well as for your family, then you're in a good place and doing something right.

    .... By the way, just wanted to let you know that I always enjoy reading your blog and following along. Thanks for sharing your picture today.

    I linked you on my Liebster post tonight, http://www.kjandco.ca/2012/02/liebster.html

    Cheers,
    Krista

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  25. What a pretty girl you are! Nice to see you! I stayed home to raise my two and don't regret a minute of it. They are now 21 & 24 and thriving! I'm so glad we were able to have that opportunity. I worked some at our business but the kids always came first. Of course i did it while remodeling two houses! Now I am working more and branched out to accept clients of my own. Life is fun! Enjoy!

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  26. great post! i have some long term plans that may or may not come around...work part time at estate sales or my own antique booth. blogging articles (getting paid to work from home?) but for today i do my best to be happy being a mom. some days are easier than others :)

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  27. Ha! You're taking your blog to a deeper personal level; I think this is the first picture of your face I've ever seen. I love it, you are a gifted photographer of both people and things (both skills I think are rare indeed). All of your questions about success...hmm. Success is such a subjective thing - so I flip it back to you, what is success? My hub would tell you to read "Mans Search for Meaning". I never have, maybe I should.

    I don't have any advice for you, any meaningful guidance. I can share what my personal experience has been - that a few years ago, even with a ton of education, success in the corporate/ngo/public sectors and recognition as an expert in my field (all before 30) never really left me satisfied. I thought maybe being a bit patient, giving it some time to percolate and mature...so I gave it some time, I talked a bit about it with people I admired, I started searching for that deeper meaning in my career path.

    One day I met someone and they said to me, "You know, I get the feeling that you don't really find yourself that interesting." It wasn't said in a harsh way, I realized that they just found it intriguing as I was obviously interesting to them. In that moment, I knew they were right. Here I was, all A Type on work but where was my A Type on life? Where was my zest for that?

    Things are different now, I have a totally new outlook. I can't tell you how I got here, who knows?? I just try to live life with humour, take risks and invest in good people. I find me interesting now ;) And success? Well, that can wait - I'm in no rush to get there, I'm too busy learning to watch the world in slow motion with my babe (and let me tell you, five years ago I would have laughed in your face if you told me I'd consider having kids).

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  28. And of course I mention your pic, I mean recent! ;) I do remember you posting the other...but both are relatively new?

    PS. I've also failed to mention how freakin cute your kids are. Ah, babies/toddlers.

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  29. Thanks for your post. I don't have any answers or insight like you've asked for except to say I identify with you and feel exactly the same way. I love your photo - so nice to see your face!

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  30. This is a great post Shannon, and it's been so nice to read through others' comments and realize that so many of us feel the same way. I struggle with all the same questions and try to remind myself to periodically take stock of my life. My husband and I are both healthy, we love each other and we have loving and supportive family and friends. We don't have as much career success or money as some people we know, but we have a roof over our heads, we're safe, we eat well, we take the occassional vacation. I find coming back to these things helps me remember how much success I already have and that makes it easier to take things one.day.at.at.time. I also think of my dad, whose life and career completely changed after the age of 50. We tend to rush ourselves, but we really never know what opportunities are waiting around the corner and that makes me hopeful for the future.

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  31. Your self portrait is lovely! & I know how you feel, I have no clue what my plans are either... I guess that's just part of life, learning as you go... It's not always easy, but I try to find joy in the small things & in the things that really matter! In the end I think that is a true measure of success. :)

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  32. you should get a photo or two up! I am not sure why it took me soo long?

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  33. my standards are pretty high...not in a bad way, but I think that's why I get a bit buggy when I have a day where I am 'just a mom'

    thanks Kerry!

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  34. Double thanks G!
    for the double comment :)

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  35. :)

    I am MUCH happier home with my boys than when I was raking it in! (ok, was never raking it in, but I am a total cost centre now)

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  36. I sometimes forget that I will be able to take some classes! Thanks for the reminder! i needed that!

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  37. good points!
    and it's true...Baby is amazing! but, he is only three months old! this stage will be over in a heart beat! I don't want to be packing school lunches!

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  38. thanks! I want to splash my photo all over the blog now! (not really...maybe a little bit)

    :)

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  39. this is what I needed to hear!

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  40. Thanks Natalie!

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  41. Thanks J!
    Are you considering bangs?

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  42. Thanks Rosa
    I will be looking up Soulemama!

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  43. I worked on this post at night for over a month....it was hard to find the words!

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  44. Ah there's the beautiful girl behind the beautiful house! I like what ca_powell and Tobe say the path will reveal itself. Right now you have different priorities, so don't fret. You and your family are happy and healthy, that's all that's needed. The rest is just gravy!

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  45. Relaxed? That's good,no?
    Very casual photo!!!

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  46. Clean sheets! Somehow the top of my list!

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  47. Your family will be lucky to have you if that works for you!

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  48. Happy momma, happy family!
    I love being behind the computer! :)

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  49. Thanks again for the shout out Krista!

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  50. Hey Delta!
    21&24...I know the years will fly by! I need to go peek in on my sleeping babies right now :)

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  51. I know what you mean, some days are certainly easier than others!

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  52. WOAH - 'I get the feeling that you don't really find yourself that interesting...'

    it almost deserves to be made into a sign and go viral on pinterest...I mean, it makes you stop in your tracks and think, no?

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  53. I just recently let go and decided it wont hurt to have my face on the internet!

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  54. Thanks Sarah!

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  55. It is amazing to read so many people's comments...and to know I am not alone with these much-bigger-than-me questions!

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  56. Thanks Sarah!

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  57. Thanks Kim!

    Its hard to be so low on your own priority list! When I bump myself up closer to the top, I feel like my sons miss out a little!

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