I have been told many times through the years, “You are so lucky.” Which always comes as a huge surprise to me as I NEVER win anything!
This has come from friends from where I grew up who wished they had moved away. Or from anyone who has ever wished to be a designer. And from many, many moms who look at my work from home life with envy.
Now, it’s true that I did move 1,500 miles away from a town of 1,700 to the “big city” to pursue my career as a designer. And yes I am now self employed and work from home.
But luck has had little or nothing to do with it.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m incredibly grateful for the life that I have and do fully buy into the fact that there is something out there that is bigger than I can comprehend that helps in guiding me, but this comes down to a lot of hard work, and a lot of messes along the way.
To all those that are envious of how I moved away. I had to find a job that would pay me to move as I had about $100 to my name when I graduated college, so I worked as a nanny on Cape Cod for the summer. And while that sounds all beachy and dreamy, in reality, I took care of a budding figure skater that was allergic to the sun. So I spent the summer freezing inside a rink. I then moved to Boston on a Sunday, and started my job the next day and did not know a soul, lived with two women that never spoke to me, and I would talk to telemarketers when they called purely so I had someone to talk to.
To all those that have always thought that being an interior designer would be so much fun. You could have joined me at the local grocery store in my neighborhood where I used to use a calculator to do my grocery shopping as I had next to nothing to spend on groceries on my tiny salary. And did I mention that the only apartment that I could afford was at the end of the runway? And for years, as a Junior Designer, I was given the “opportunity” to select all of the finishes for the bathrooms of any given project–glamorous I think not. The rest of the time was doing menial jobs for all of the “real” designers.
And to all the folks that see me as a successful work from home mom–only see me now, 17 years into owning my own business. This didn’t happen overnight. And don’t even get me started on the challenges of being “together”, but working, year round.
Do you know how Chinese bamboo grows?
Once you plant it, you need to tend to it with good soil, sunshine and water, but for 5 years it doesn’t change it’s appearance. You can hardly see that it has changed. And more times than not, people give up on it assuming that it was a dud. But if you don’t give up and continue to give it the soil, sunshine and water it needs, in the 5th year it will grow 8 feet in 6 weeks.
So does bamboo grow in 6 weeks, or does it take 5 years?
It’s so easy to peer over the fences to our friends’ “yards” and see that everything they have is peachy compared to our own lives. But you are focusing on a moment in time and not seeing what it took to get there. And it’s really easy to just “wish” we had what everyone else had, as opposed to putting our noses down and starting the hard work. Especially knowing that you will always be behind.
So we really need to focus on what we want and need, and put into place the plan it will take to get there, even if it means being the last to the party. Because all the wishing in the world is not going to get us there.
Lucky or not.