Have you ever stopped and taken a moment to think about your biggest life achievements? If you haven’t, I challenge you to take a minute to do so and think about your top 10 biggest life achievements. What would they be? Before you begin, you may want to sit and think about what the word life achievements mean to you. There really is no universal definition of life achievements, rather I believe that it is something that looks like and means something different to each individual. There is no right or wrong answer here, instead it’s diving into your personal self and reflecting on seeing the biggest things that you’ve accomplished or have tried to obtain in life. I also believe that these things can be both things you have succeeded at and also things you have failed at. They can be a personal characteristic of yourself that you are proud of or they can be tangible things you’ve been recognized for. Like anything, you may change your mind about what your personal definition of life achievements is over time, but for now think about today. Think about your life achievements up until this day. Here are mine & in no particular order:
- Surviving my college years & getting my Bachelors Degree. For as long as I remember, I always heard that College is the best years of your life. For me, it was a very overwhelming time in my life. I grew up in a very small town and had been under the wing of my parents my entire life. When I left for college I was suddenly independent and could make up my own rules so to speak. Although my parents were still there from afar to guide me, I was ultimately on my own day to day and that scared the shit out of me. I am an introvert and being in large crowds of strangers provoked my anxiety on day to day basis. Being an introvert, it was also very hard to meet people because I have always been that quiet girl in the corner who is far from the life of the party. In fact, I’ve always had many acquaintances, but very few close friends. Honestly, that’s the way I’ve always been. I have a comfort zone with people, and college took me way out of my comfort zone. Because of my somewhat sheltered life, I always questioned if I should be doing something or what I should do in certain circumstances. Basically, I always questioned myself because I had little confidence. It took quite a while before I was comfortable in my own skin and gained some independence and learned my self worth. I was also in the midst of a long-term relationship (my very first love and also first long-term relationship) which dictated a lot of my decisions and held me back during this time in my life. It took me a while to see this and face the situation head on. Ultimately, I learned the very hard way that I needed to put myself first, that giving 110% of myself to someone where the give and take just wasn’t there was exhausting, and that I simply deserved to be happy and I just wasn’t. In fact, I was miserable. It took me quite a while to overcome this break up and get to a point where I was okay-but I did it. With many tears, a broken heart, and at a loss…I continued on. My last year in college was actually fun, enjoyable, and what (in my mind) college should have felt like all along. I guess it helped that I met a wonderful guy, who little did I know would become my husband. Shortly after, I graduated and earned my degree, which was a huge accomplishment and what I had been striving for in those 4.5 years!
- Taking the risk to move (really move) for the first time in my life across the state. Although I sacrificed a lot, I am one who follows my heart. My heart was with that guy I met in my last year of college. So, I ended up packing up my stuff and moving across the state with him to see where things would go and where new doors would take me. Again, this was super scary time in my life because there were lots of unknowns. I’m a planner by nature and have always had a plan. This move came without a real solid plan but I am happy that I took the risk and did so. This move provided me with not only more independence, but also opened the doors to new jobs and meeting new people. It also allowed me to get to know my now husband better and learn what love really was all about and should truly feel like. The one thing about this achievement that stands out to me is I took a risk. Risk taking is very out of my element and something I take pretty seriously. It took a lot of contemplating and thinking on my part and the decision did not come easily. Again, my heart was overtaking my brain and there are so many things in my life that would have went differently if I wouldn’t have taken this one big risk. I’m thankful, very thankful I took a risk.
- Having an honest, loving, real, genuine, and solid relationship with my now husband the last 11 years. Although 11 years knowing someone and having a close relationship with them doesn’t seem like a long time in the grand scheme of things, it honestly can feel like a lifetime at times. We’ve had some great times together and some not so great times together. We have loved each other and sometimes have even disliked each other. We have laughed, cried, and argued together. Lets face it, the honeymoon stage of relationships are amazing and then there is the after moon where as I like to say you start to see the shit through the diamonds. I must say, though, through it all…when you are with who you are meant to be with you love that person on the good days and the bad days and you can’t imagine life with out them. It’s hard work to keep this type of relationship afloat, but at the end of the day when you can feel happy about your relationship and look back on everything you’ve been through with a smile on your face, it’s the best feeling in the world and you know you’re the richest person in the world who has obtained one of the best gifts in the world-a best friend for life.
- My girls. These little human beings are my entire world. No words can explain how proud I am to be their mother. I am truly grateful and feel so honored. Having children is such a privilege. I see this as a huge life achievement because of all the things I have learned about life and love and about myself since having them in my life.
- Going through Secondary Infertility and openly talking about my struggles with it. I won’t go on and on about my struggles with secondary infertility because most of you know my journey already. I will say that, just putting one foot in front of the other going through that struggle was hard. Somehow I persevered through this difficult circumstance & that makes me feel like it was an achievement. I am so proud of myself for the strong women I have become because of all I have gone through with that and being able to openly share my struggles with others. It has opened my eyes to so many things and I am forever grateful for it. I achieved so many things during my journey with infertility and gained a new perspective and appreciation about life.
- Being a SAHM. Although I am not bringing home the bacon so to speak, I have no perks that come with having a career, and I am not using that awesome degree (right now) that I talked about in #1-I am raising 2 tiny humans and it’s a big shoe to fill on a day to day basis. It’s also one of the most important ‘jobs’ I have ever had in my life. It’s a job that doesn’t come with any instructions either, it doesn’t come with any pay but the perks of this job are priceless. I’m so proud to be a SAHM and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It isn’t easy and it involves a lot of sacrifices BUT so far it has been incredibly worth it!
- Being the genuine, loyal, caring, reliable, yet vulnerable/sensitive, stubborn and honest person that I am. To own these characteristics, to have confidence in myself, and to own up to all the traits that make me who I am is something to be proud of. It took me such a long time to know who I was and what made me who I am and although there is always room for growth and change-I am proud of the women I am.
- To know and believe that the true riches of life are not material things. It’s so easy to get caught up in today’s materialistic world and think that happiness is measured by things BUT I can tell you that happiness first comes from within and it’s the people in your life, and the moments you make and the experiences you have that make your life rich. I realized this at a very early age. I didn’t grow up with a lot of things, but I grew up with a lot of love and where there was love there was life! I feel it’s a huge accomplishment to live by this and also pass this wisdom on to my girls!
- Exercising. Some may see this as a silly life achievement, but for me, right now-it’s not. Having had 2 babies now and being able to stay healthy and active for them requires me to find the time to exercise. It’s so hard, but someway, somehow I’m finding ways to fit exercise into my daily life. Not only is it healthy to exercise but it makes my stress and anxiety levels decrease and it is so great for my mental health. Being able to make time for me with everything else I have on my plate is not easy, but doing it and realizing it’s importance is huge!
- Parenting. Parenting does not come with a handbook. It is both amazing and challenging. It is something I love being, yet can make me go crazy at times. You will have people judge you and give you advice until your head spins. At the end of the day you are the parent and you have to do what is best for you and your family/child-ren. I may not be the perfect parent but I know that I am doing the best I can and I’d like to say that so far my kids are doing great-healthy, growing and thriving! At the end of the day I just want what is best for my kids-it’s such a selfless and unconditional kind of love.
There it is. My 10. I know you don’t see any major life-time awards or anything but my definition of life achievements are things that can’t be measured by society. Rather, I see my life time achievements as things that can grow and expand over time. These achievements are the things I value, are moments and experiences that have molded me and my life. They are things I have persevered and learned from. To me it’s learning to appreciate all that is intangible and the little-ever so important achievements from day to day and finding your self worth and recognizing your personal evolution in time. It’s the unseen, intangible and non- rewarded achievements that I value the most.
Yesterday was a hard day for me. I was having what I consider a pity party for myself. It stemmed from getting a huge bill in the mail from my surgery and looking at all the debt we still owe from the past year and feeling like we can never get ahead in life and have nothing to show for it and feeling like we are limited because of our financial situation. I decided that today I did not want to loathe in my pity for msyelf and do some positive reflection. We may be in some financial debt, are struggling financially right now, and feel the weight of this on our shoulders BUT we have so much to be proud of and so much that we’ve already accomplished and all those accomplishments did not happen because life was easy. It’s a great reminder to me that in the midst of hardships great things happen are are yet to come and through this I will get through it too…other great doors will open and life will go on. Today is Wednesday-I am hoping today and the rest of your week we can all find little achievements along the way that will ultimately lead to our someday lifetime achievements!