Removing Myself As An Obstacle

I have 2 advanced degrees, neither of which are in writing, English, or any type of journalism. Tonight is the first night that I am taking time away from my family to devote a few hours solely to myself and writing.

I am terrified. Who do I think I am? I am qualified to count people’s money. I’m not qualified to write words on a page and think that it can be “something”.

Yet I’m here. I’ve wanted to write since I was a kid. It’s hard to admit it but I would try to write stories since I was 10. I would dream of publishing a novel. Instead of actually trying to follow my dreams, however, I followed the practical road. I became an accountant. And that was after rejecting dentistry (science and I did not get along). Writing was never my first choice as a career in real life.

For the last 5 years, I have been a stay at home mom who has occasionally written in her blog. I would be focused for a few weeks and lose it after when real life overtook my side aspirations. Now, I’ve been given a chance at consistency.

And I am terrified. I was having crazy anxiety just driving to the coffee shop right now. I feel like a fraud. I’m not a professional writer. So why do I get to step away from my family in order to sit and put words on the screen for a few hours? Is it even realistic goal? Does it have to be? Can’t I just dream big?

I don’t know if this will even come to anything. All I know is writing has always been good for my soul. So here I am.

Get It

I want to be really good at just one thing. I want to be known for at least one thing.

Let me explain to you where this came from. Everyone has their thing. I follow enough people on social media (and honestly, in real life as well, because as we all know, social media is a little bit of a fantasy world) to see who have hobbies or careers where they are living it up well. They have made something they enjoy into something that they can really live for.

I want that. And while people who know me might say that I am also doing that, it sometimes doesn’t feel like it. It could be that time just travels so slow so it’s hard to see things changing as we are going through them. And one day, I’ll wake up and realize that I have been doing exactly what I wanted to be doing. But it’s frustrating right now at this moment.

I constantly tell my kids that they have to learn patience. It seems as though I need to learn it as well.

Do any of you ever have a reaction when you think about what you want to accomplish? Lately, when I think about this one particular dream I’ve had since I was a kid, I get this immediate negative reaction where I can’t even think about it because I start getting anxious. Trying to analyze the feelings makes me anxious as well. It’s like I already want to believe I can’t achieve it. It’s a horrible way to feel. And I give my usual excuses on why I will fail at it. I don’t have enough time right now, I have other priorities, how would I even start, etc.

I want this feeling of accomplishment, like I set out to do this big thing and I did it. I’ve done it before with other dreams so there’s no reason why I can’t do it again.

What are your dreams and/or success stories? What have you accomplished that you’re super proud. Please share and let me live vicariously through you and inspired by you.

Having a Family: Commitment or Sacrifice

– By Anonymous

Continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches, letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights – Pauline R Kezer

In reflecting on my life in the last 5 years, I see myself as a different person than I had envisioned. I knew children would change me and change my lifestyle, but not in the way it has. 5 years ago, I drew my energy from being around others, from being in social situations, and from conversations with my family of friends. I swore that this wouldn’t change by having children. Fast forward to now and I re-energize by having moments of quiet time those late hours when I’m awake because my 4-year-old is having nightmares, those wee early morning hours when not a soul is yet awake in my house, or those minutes when my office door is closed and no one comes knocking. When did I change from being an extrovert to an introvert?

Recently, it has been brought to my attention that I’ve been hiding in a cave of sorts. Whether it was a conscious or unconscious decision to limit my interactions with others is unclear; what is clear is that I’ve made some lifestyle changes and am re-evaluating and prioritizing those important things in my life.

I talked to several people during this enlightening time and have come to the conclusion that some people perceive the time spent with young children and limiting “mommy time” – time away from the children – as a sacrifice: a sacrifice of the self. Others perceive this time as a commitment. I count myself in the camp of those who consider it a commitment. Growing up, I saw my cousins allow their parents raise their children, giving more of themselves to their social lives and career ambitions. I never wanted to be the parent who relied so heavily on grandparents. I firmly believe that my children should know me as their mom. I am also an ambitious career woman (which also adds guilt because I spend so much time away from my kids) so when I am home with my family, everything else gets shut off. No text messages, no phone calls, no tv. I am committed to being “mommy” which means I get to have dance parties with my kids before bed, read stories, and enjoys tickles and giggles. Please don’t misunderstand. There are also moments of frustration but I’m committed to helping my children work through tantrums, fights, and experiencing such intense emotions.

Did I forget to mention my role as wife? I also have a firm belief that without a solid foundation, whether that is as a single parent or as a two parent household, parenting can go south real quick. So when the kids are asleep or entertaining themselves, I work on making that foundation as solid as possible (in addition to completing chores such as dishes, general cleaning and laundry).

So commitment or sacrifice? I suppose that is in how one perceives the various roles a woman plays when she becomes a mother (or the roles a man plays when he becomes a father) and also depends on how one chooses to prioritize the different aspects and responsibilities in his or her life.

I have changed and I am committed to my family. I’m not here to judge those who choose a different way, I’m just asking to not be judged for choosing my way.

Are You Ambitious Too?

Ambition. It’s something that isn’t inherently in all of us. Well, at least, not in the same way. Some of us are ambitious about our careers, some of us are ambitious about our hobbies, some of us are ambitious about something else entirely. So how do it work when two people aren’t ambitious about the same thing?

Being a first generation raised in America Indian, most of us are taught to be ambitious about our careers. After all, most of our parents came over here and worked extremely hard so that we would get the opportunities to achieve whatever we wanted. So, of course, we should be taking advantage of that and do the best we can to take their successes a step further. Most of the people I have been raised with all have that same mindset.

Here’s the interesting part for me: not EVERYONE believes that as well. There are a few people I do know who haven’t achieved as much as they are capable of. I don’t know why they haven’t. I don’t know if it’s a lack of ambition or if there are other reasons. I don’t know if it’s something that’s inherited or if it’s just a personality thing.

I’ll be honest. I do judge people based on what is perceived as a lack of ambition. I can’t understand it because most of the people I know do have some sort of drive. And when I say ambition, I don’t just mean education-wise. It could be ambition in that person’s career or the way they raise their kids or their hobbies. I see interests that don’t just involve being social but to better themselves and the people around them in some way. But if I meet someone who doesn’t seem to want to do anything, I have a hard time understanding that person. I don’t think that too many people like this do exist though. Most people do have interests and want to accomplish something in life.

I think what’s important to understand is that two people won’t necessarily have the same ambitions. My husband knows I like to be involved in a lot of things. In the past, I have simultaneously worked, gone to school, and been involved in dance. But now, as a stay at home mom, that isn’t all possible. When we talked yesterday, he apologized to me for not being able to pursue my ambitions. The thing is that I can’t have the same goals when my role in life has changed. But what I can do is change my goals. While he follows his ambition to grow his career and business, I am following mine to raise my daughter and to develop other parts of my life (such as this blog) so that I feel fulfilled. And we both support each other. In the end, both of us should be able to positively influence my daughter’s life because she can see that even though we don’t necessarily share the same ambitions, we both will work hard to achieve something regardless of what it is. As long as we can figure out what we want to accomplish together as a couple and as parents, we can figure out how to get there with the other as support.

Independent Career Woman vs. Stay At Home Mom

This is a topic that I never thought I would have to consider since I grew up believing I’d always be working. I grew up in a household where both of my parents worked and I spent a lot of time in day care. I actually believe a lot of my independence came from this so I had no problems believing that I would go a similar route and be a full-time working mom when I came to that point in my life.

Life doesn’t always work out the way you imagine it to. Because I was already pregnant when I left my job and that job was over 45 miles away in LA traffic, it seemed to be the best decision not to look for another job through the pregnancy. And, obviously, I’d stay home with the baby for a while since we didn’t have a need for me to go back to work right away.

And while this was the best decision for me and my family, it was a hard one for me. I have always been the type of person who did multiple things at once. I worked at my day job while being involved in a lot of activities. All of a sudden, I was limited by my own body during the pregnancy. I couldn’t maintain my level of physical activity. Even when we went out socially, I’d get tired a lot. I would have to be careful with what I was doing and where I was going.

Now, let me get one thing straight. Everything I had to do or not do in order to get my beautiful baby, I do not regret. She will always be totally worth it. But this is an emotional time with a lot of change for anyone and I wanted to share what I was feeling (and still sometimes feel).

I’m still going through figuring out who I am now. I’m not the same independent woman I was 3 years ago. I’m now a mom whose primary job is to take care of my child. Until I decide to go back to work (if I choose to do so), my life is about raising my baby. I have to figure out how to reconcile the person I was to the person I am now. It’s difficult. How do you go from being someone who participates in all of these activities to someone who only possibly might be able to do it again some day but not at the moment? You can never go back to being the person you were.

Somehow, a new person has to emerge that combines both the independent woman with the stay at the home mom. And, somehow, I have to learn to become that person.

Financial Stability or Passion? Can I Have Both?

For most of us, our careers are based on what we might be good at and financial stability. We choose them when we are really young and just keep working away until we get to a point where it’s comfortable. We work, we work, we work, and all of a sudden, we’ve been doing this job for over 30 years. We achieved what we wanted. Financial stability. So my question is where do our passions fall into all of this?

I don’t know about you but mine are side projects.  I make time outside of my regular work to do things I enjoy like writing in this blog. I couldn’t do them full-time though. What if I can’t achieve financial stability? What if the whole thing is a struggle? There is a quote that says “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” I’ve constantly been on the search for that my whole life. I don’t know if I’ll ever find it. 

I really admire those people who manage to turn their passion into a full-time business without letting it feel like a business. My other big fear with turning a passion into full-time work is that what if I start resenting it? What if the business aspect kills it for me? 

Passion. It’s part of what makes life worth living and helps you enjoy every day. It brings people together to achieve common goals. So how does a person take that step towards something that they are passionate about that won’t guarantee financial stability? The people that can do this are amazing. They don’t seem to have any fear. They make it work. And they have enough drive and ambition that leads them to success. 

Why is it so hard for some of us to take that step? We burn out so we can have both financial stability and passion instead of really finding something we want to do and figuring out how to achieve financial stability through that. We get to a point where we don’t want to do anything because we’ve worked so hard at everything. There has to be a balance. There has to be a way to achieve both at once. 

The question is how do we make it happen? 

Losing Myself

My sister sent me an article a few weeks ago about diversifying yourself. Meaning have different people and hobbies and interests in life so that if one part of your life isn’t where you want it to be, your whole self doesn’t crash with it. It’s definitely a good idea. It’s so easy to lose yourself without even realizing it, especially when you have a hobby that is a big part of yourself, a new significant other, a career that you are very ambitious about. New life events happen and things change and all of a sudden you don’t recognize who you are anymore.

How do I stay in touch with who I am? It’s not easy, especially when your priorities change with a relationship or kids. I think it’s important to remember what made you you before those changes and make sure to maintain those things after the changes.

Yesterday, I saw some friends I hadn’t seen in a while. Without my significant other. As much as I love him, it felt good to take some time to remember what I look like on my own. This independence helps build my self esteem and keeps me remembering who I am. It’s important to remember that we are not defined by our relationship or our role as a parent or our career. We are who we are based on who we are as people. And that will change as we grow but as long as we can still see ourselves and make sure we like who we are, then we’re okay.

When I had a big fall several years ago, I had no idea who I was after. I had to rebuild everything slowly. I realized during that fall how important my friends and my passions are to keep me grounded. I don’t want ever any one aspect of my life to define me.

I’ve watched other people lose themselves. Not on purpose but just because it’s easy to get swept up in their lives and forget to take that time out for themselves so that they can see who they are. It’s when this happens I think that it’s most important to appreciate that we are humans who can enjoy so many aspects of life. We don’t have to be defined by a single role at any point.  We can take a step to finding what we are missing in our current situation and introduce it back into our lives. I didn’t realize until yesterday how much I was missing my girlfriends until I was sitting right in front of them. I’m glad I recognized it though because I will definitely take the steps to make sure I’m getting that girl time.

Losing myself is not an option.