“Whatever you are meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible.” – Doris Lessing
Like most, I spent my formative years searching for a hat that fit. Unlike most (I think), I’m not sure I ever found one. Growing up, I often pictured my adult self wearing shoulder-padded dress suits with pumps while carrying a brief case and walking with purpose wherever I went, a la Diane Keaton in Baby Boom. That’s right, my dream was to become a bona fide 1980s career woman. The actual job that I would be doing whilst sporting these classy styles? Not a clue. That probably should’ve been the first red flag right there. Unfortunately, I didn’t give that part a lot of thought at the time. Perhaps my fixation on the aesthetic of the job was a sign I should instead have been following in Christina Applegates’ footsteps in Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead. Because all good movies end in fashion shows, right? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, WATCH THAT MOVIE. It’s amazing. Well, my eight-year-old self thought so anyway.
The point is, I recently realized I’d been holding onto this one idea of success for myself (the one that went with the suit) and, not surprisingly, I wasn’t measuring up (nor did I own a suit). I was supposed to have some sort of big, important, fast-paced career by now, damn it! Without one—regardless of how fulfilled I was in other aspects of my life—a part of me felt like I’d sort of failed adulthood. That realization was kind of massive.
So I’ve been working on redefining what success means for me. A big part of that process has been learning how to stop comparing myself to other women. Her accomplishment is not my failure. In fact, it has very little to do with me at all. I should be celebrating successful women and getting inspired by them, not getting all woe is me! Sheesh. And hello, I have so many wonderful things in my life to celebrate too. My beautiful daughter, motherhood, my loving and supportive partner, my close-knit family and incomparable friends, and this here blog, to name just a few. Sure, some of those things were pure luck, but they took a lot of nurturing too. And hey, it’s never too late, right? If I want to do more, it’s time to do more!
You know–thinking back to Baby Boom–I now realize the part of the movie with the power suits is actually very insignificant to the whole plot. Turns out the film is about a woman embracing motherhood and finding a new career path inspired by it.
A little closer to where I am than I first thought.