A few months ago I was feeling discouraged thinking about my upcoming birthday, thinking how little I’ve done with my life. No fame, no fortune, nothing impressive in any area of life. Any accomplishments I had felt puny and unremarkable.
When I was 20 and thought about being busy raising kids for years to come, I’d tell myself that one day I’d be forty and my kids would be older and then it would be my chance. Now here I was about to turn forty, still busy raising kids and seemingly not any closer to whatever it meant to have my chance. I started thinking about how I wasn’t ever going to be any more than I was right then. I wanted something concrete that showed I was here, that my life mattered in this world, but when I looked at my life all I could see was who I wasn’t and things I hadn’t accomplished.
Then an interesting thing happened. I stopped thinking about it – fortunately I don’t usually get stuck in negativity for long – and the next time I was thinking about turning 40, things were different. Not much different on the outside. But very different on the inside. Life had settled down and I felt content; this was a particularly notable shift after we started homeschooling again at the start of the school year. I’m still not rich and famous, still not doing impressive things. But living in harmony with my values has made a big difference in me being able to disregard those outside voices that were dancing around in my head.
I’m grateful for my life and my family, and I know that even without the things that people in the outside world use to measure value – a value system that I was stressing about not measuring up to – my life has been a success because I’ve lived it in the way that was meaningful to me. I’ve been an imperfect wife, mother, daughter and friend, but my family and friends love me in spite of that…and I wouldn’t trade the privilege of living this life for anyone else’s.