At the ripe old age of 35 I’ve come to the realisation that there are a lot of things I will not be in this life time. A professional ballet dancer, which was my earliest wish. An Olympic Athlete, which was my dream as a teenager. I’m probably not going to be someone who creates the next Facebook, or comes up with life changing medical advancements either. In short, now and then I feel a bit down that I’m not going to “achieve” that much in my life as I had hoped as a child. I worry I haven’t fulfilled my potential. That I’m not a “success” in anything.
When I shake myself out of my self pity party, I take a look around myself and see some beautiful things. I’m a wife to a great guy. A daughter to wonderful parents. A sister, sister-in-law and aunt. I’m a friend to a lot of smart, kind and loving people and I’m the mum to a kid I feel blessed to hold every day. I’m healthy and we are financially stable. Things are pretty good here.
My self pity comes from my own and also society’s expectations and definitions of success. I’m not a CEO, or a director or an engineer. I’ve struggled for years to define myself as a professional. What do I do? For years I worked in advertising at what’s renowned as the best company in the world to work for, but didn’t find the world fulfilling. I had big numbers to hit and, while I did my job well, I was more interested in other things, like creating websites, writing copy, making videos, social and marketing.
I’ve hesitated to write down my “profession” on a business card or website as until now I really didn’t know what to say. All the words felt so limiting when written down – too small to describe the scope of what I did and when put together, a rag tag bunch of descriptions that made me sound like a very confused person. Writer. Photographer. Editor. Social media and marketing strategist. I’m all of these things, but also not any of them.
I’ve finally realised that what I am is a storyteller. What makes me happy, and has always made me happy, is telling stories. When I was younger, I used to enjoy making up stories, but in recent years I’ve loved telling real stories – mine and of other people. Not big, hard hitting news stories, or words that become manifestos, but the smaller, quiet words that make up our day-to-day lives. The words that aren’t really that important, but are at the same time, because they reflect who we truly are at the heart of our lives. Our stories, as simple as they are, are worth telling and recording.
Storytellers have always been a critical part of human society. The people who document life and pass on folk lore to the next generation. The observers, the watchers, the ones who are good at noticing and remembering.
If this is my purpose, it’s a pretty good thing to be. It’s a small life, a quiet one, but one that is beautiful and worth having.
What about you? Tell me what’s beautiful about your life.
Fantastic point of view and what a wonderful ‘small life’ to live.
Thanks very much Mel. I think so 🙂
A storyteller is certainly what you are! Sounds like you have a very big life to me! Just think of all the people you affect just by being here. The people you spend your time with, the people that read your writing 🙂 Love this post!
Thank you Lu! Really appreciate it. It’s lovely to think the words I write have a positive effect.
Omg I feel exactly the same and had the idea about a similar post. I’m so glad you did it. Just like you:
1. I’m so disappointed I’m not a CEO, didn’t even made it to Director
2. I realised being an awesome mum, sister, wife and daughter is way more fulfilling. I used to take it for granted but I see so many dysfunctional families! Touching hearts around me is so rewarding!
3. I scored the best husband too. Lucky the best hubby is not the same for every one lol
4. I’m a story teller too!!! A different one, a practical and down to earth one with her silly sense of humour and I learn so much from the way you write !
5. I’ll never be a rock star but I can still ènjoy playing music and singing and it doesn’t harm to try and be better at it despite my old age
6. Hey professionally we have just started. Wait til cheese is in her teens and tells you to bugger off (I mean give her a bit of space) and you’ll be back to great ambitious projects and you’ll have so much experience and wisdom to draw from and to know where your passion lies… don’t you think?
Thanks TL! You’re veery right about having time for profession later – I certainly hope so!
Loved reading this! thank you for sharing…
Thank you Karyn!
Storyteller, love that! It’s such an intriguing full of wonder word
Thank you Erin! I agree 🙂
It wasn’t until I turned 40 that “life” made sense to me. I don’t need to be the best at what I am doing I just need to be happy – and I am happy! And there is nothing wrong with a small and quiet life ( as long as you have champagne 😉
Yes to champagne Rebeca 😀 And I think you’re totally right – we can’t all be the best at things too, so realising that you don’t need that recognition or award to be happy is, I think, enabling more happiness in our lives.
I once had the marriage, the money and the high end career position that met society.s expectations and definitions of success. And I was miserable. I chucked it all, including the money and what was actually a terrible marriage to become a storyteller and a mum and I have never ever been happier. 🙂
It feels good, doesn’t it? 😀 Sorry to hear about your terrible marriage but I’m glad that you found your voice to tell your wonderful stories. I love your blog. Your kids are rock stars.
Good things, even big things, come in small packages. And storytelling is one of the best packages there is.
Thank you Malinda, I think so too!
I love this. Storyteller is perfect! It covers so much and sounds so interesting. Like you, I once had a professional career that paid the bills really well but didn’t leave me fulfilled in the way it should, so I have turned to focus on what is important to me and use those talents in communications in a more meaningful way to me. I’m now a stay at home mum who enjoys freelance writing and blogging about life. I guess, like you, I feel I have a story to tell and that possibly there are others out there like me who I can reach.
Thank you Erika. Yes yes yes to everything you said!
Success is in the eye of the beholder. For me, contentment is my measure. If I feel at peace with where I am and the choices I’ve made then that is success. Of course I still think about making changes and perhaps one day I will, but for now, life is beautiful. I love reading your stories. You sound happy and contented and I admire that.
What a great post sweetie! I try to enjoy every single day, my family and my business. What a beautiful blog!
I invite you to check out my blog. I am a life coach and every Monday, I post life coaching tips on all areas of life. I would love to see you there! <3
http://www.ManhattanImageandStyle.com – Blog
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True story, you are a FANTASTIC storyteller! You’re also a smart, loving, kind and all ’round excellent gal and I loves ya. x
Aww thank you you made my day 🙂 Right back at you!
Love this, Christine- storytelling is no small feat xxx
Thank you so much Amy xxx