“And while it takes courage to achieve greatness, it takes more courage to find fulfillment in being ordinary. For the joys that last have little relationship to achievement, to standing one step higher on the victory platform. What is the adventure in being ordinary? It is daring to love just for the pleasure of giving it away. It is venturing to give new life and to nurture it to maturity. It is working hard for the pure joy of being tired at the end of the day. It is caring and sharing and giving and loving …” ― Marilyn Thomsen
I don’t want to “make it” in the world.
I don’t have any strong pull toward fame or fortune. I don’t even have a strong pull toward stability or security.
I just want to taste the whole world, one little bite at a time.
I also want to scream this at the top of my lungs to everyone who wants to see me “succeed.”
I am already a success.
I’ve made it.
I feel good here.
Thanks for asking.
You see, every time I show up at a photo session someone says, “Why don’t you do this for a living?”
I smile and say thank you and mumble something about self-employment taxes being tricky and marketing myself being stressful. But honestly, it’s because I like it this way. I have zero plans for “making it” as a photographer.
And if I knit a hat someone inevitably asks, “Have you considered selling these?”
Um, nope. The only one I’ve ever made is now on your head.
This happens with all the crazy things I craft. But it’s just not how my brain works. I don’t need another job. I have two. I don’t need extra dollar signs to make my hobbies feel valuable.
I don’t need a title, so I can answer the inevitable question: “What do you do?”
Recently a friend visited my house for the first time. She offered compliments on my handiwork and told me how cool it was that I built it myself.
I loved it.
Until I didn’t.
Until she said I ought to tow my house down to the Google headquarters and tell them they should hire me because I’m talented and can think outside the box.
She asked me why I wasn’t running the creative department at some huge company or teaching workshops somewhere. She told me I could start a business designing and building tiny houses. She said, “You could do anything.”
My friend was trying to be nice. She was trying to tell me I was innovative. She was trying to say she was impressed by my handiwork. I know all her words were meant in kindness. I know this.
But it still left me with the same feeling I get when someone asks why I don’t run a photography business or sell the things I make. It makes me feel like the life I’m curating for myself doesn’t come with enough dollar signs or enough recognition from the people around me.
Don’t get me wrong, I love being the center of attention. And I am not a quiet woman. I love flattery and compliments and words of affirmation. I’m terribly self-absorbed and I think what I’m doing in the world is lovely. But I’ve already put in too many hours trying to “make it” in the world.
I spent every day of my childhood trying so hard to be seen—clawing my way to the top, always achieving achieving achieving. I wanted to be the BEST at things. And I didn’t mind trampling over people to make sure I was on top.
But somewhere along the way that started to hurt. Somewhere along this trek toward redemption I stopped thinking there was only space for a few champions. I don’t need everyone to see what I’ve done for it to feel like a success. I don’t need to be the best to feel good about the work I’ve created. And I don’t need a hefty paycheck to see the incredible value in what I’ve done.
I am happy with my extraordinarily quirky ordinary life.
I am happy just tasting the whole world, one little bite at a time.