Other people’s definition of success

girl

For awhile I’ve felt that I don’t resonate with the typical definition of success. It doesn’t make my heart feel anything when I hear it described. In fact, some of the material excess described makes me feel uneasy when I hear people fantasize about it.

I don’t need to be rich.

From a young age I’ve always been able to distinguish a need from a want. I know that when it comes down to it, we need very little to survive and even to thrive. I also understand that our material desires stem from an emotional lack somewhere, and I have the foresight to know that a new handbag will only be a temporary fix at best.

pennies
I’m good with my pennies, thanks

Anyway, I bring this up because I was reading an article in my Medium Daily Digest called “5 Things I Had to Give Up to be Successful“. The first thing the writer says he gave up is Other people’s definition of success.

He talks about the standard agreed-upon version of success that society has, which is especially propagated during college. But “by this definition, I was a complete failure.” And boy can I relate to that.

He goes on to say,

“At some point, I realized that I had to give up other people’s definition of success. This is one of the most difficult things to give up because it is so deeply embedded in our cultural narratives that it becomes the standard by which we measure our lives.”

This issue of defining your self-worth by how “successful” you are plagued my 20’s. And really, it wasn’t until I sold out and “got a real job” that I finally felt the shame dissipate. But I wasn’t happy. Isn’t it possible to live a life filled with an abundance of happiness and also a complete lack of shame? Cause that’s what I’m looking for.

I also totally resonated with his point that “Even as entrepreneurs we have collectively agreed that fame and fortune are the markers of success,” because I know I’ve felt shame when comparing myself to my other freelancer friends who are out there hustling in their own way.

i now go beyond other peoples' fears and limitations
We have these “Power Thought Cards” by Louise L. Hay in our staff bathroom, and this one was up today. Perfect.

So what do I actually want?

The answer to this could easily be 100 more blog posts, but in short: I want enough money to live the same frugal and minimal lifestyle I live now, with enough extra that if I wanted to splurge, I could. I want enough extra money that I can invest for retirement. And I want enough extra money so I can travel. But that’s it.

And aside from money, what do I want? I want a family. I want to get married and have children and I want to nurture that family. And I also want to maintain independence and work on my own projects and goals. I want to continue to progress. I want to prioritize family and friends and in-person experiences over digital ones. I want to prioritize my health.

cute little fam

And that’s it in a nutshell.

 

 

Hello, handsome new blog!

Greetings, readers! And welcome to my web development blog.

I’m one week in to freeCodeCamp and I’m really excited to share my thoughts with you so far. But first, I figure I should catch you up with where I’ve been and how I’ve gotten to this point.

I started learning HTML back in the early 2000s. Then I added some coding and some photoshop in there. But it was all just hobby stuff. It wasn’t until about 2009 that a friend came into the bar where I was bartending and asked me if I’d ever thought about doing web design. It was this conversation that I credit to starting me down the road as a professional web developer.

I did freelance here and there for awhile, but struggled a lot, being self taught and having gaps in my knowledge. I was so eager to start making money that I decided to forgo devoting time to learning, and just jump right in with client work. That went okay, but it was insanely frustrating coming up against roadblocks and needing outside help to solve them. Finally, the frustration was too much for me and I stopped designing altogether.

Fast forward to this year, which I’ve spent working as a teacher’s assistant in a Montessori preschool. It has been incredibly fun, exciting, fascinating, adorable, hilarious, and hug-filled. But I’ve also gotten sick five times in eight months, I’m exhausted, and I’m just not earning enough to be where I want to be in terms of my financial future. So with a lot of hesitation, I think this will be my last year. And back to web development it is.

I’ve always had a lot of fear around web work. A lot of worry and shame and fear of failure. A lot of frustration, too, and anger and resentment. But all of that is because I didn’t do it right the first time around. I put myself out there before I was ready. I needed a stronger foundation of skills – more than just a strong knowledge of HTML and CSS. That isn’t enough anymore. A designer needs to be a developer these days. And she needs to know how to code.

So this time, while the fear of failure is still very much there, and the memories of the seemingly impossible bugs to fix are still fresh in my mind… I feel at the same time relatively at ease about the endeavor. Because I know it will be better this time. My approach will be all different. My mentality will be all different. And hopefully, my results will be very different.

old way vs new way

The old way was the reason I struggled so much. I put so much pressure on myself to be a successful web designer, without nourishing myself — neither in terms of growing my knowledge and skillset, nor in terms of my personal life and keeping a healthy work-life balance.

The new way is the reason I will succeed. I will have patience. I will respect myself no matter what. And I will remember that if I keep learning, I will keep improving. And with improvement comes new opportunities. And opportunities lead to success.

And that’s why I’m so excited about freeCodeCamp. Stay tuned for the next post where I’ll share with you all my thoughts on the first week!