Am Happy

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Pinterest can be great for inspiration, but it can also make you feel like crap pretty quickly. It seems that every fifth pin is a woman with a six-pack telling me that if my dreams don’t scare me they aren’t big enough. So when I see a pin like this, it’s like a breath of fresh air and a tall glass of homemade lemonade on one of those back porches with the fans and the ceiling painted sky blue that has one of those swings that has the chains nicely oiled so they don’t squeak.

I don’t want to constantly strive for perfection. In fact, I think my life is pretty perfect now. I have a soft belly and dust bunnies in the corners of my bedroom. Some nights, my daughter just eats French bread pizza for dinner, and her clothes are rarely folded before going in their drawers. I have no desire to turn this blog into a magazine or a full-time profession, nor do I want a spin-off business in styling or wardrobe consultation. The last craft project I did ended up getting thrown away because I never had the time to complete it, and I’m the mom who buys not bakes sweets for parties and potlucks.

But I am happy. Really happy. Happy enough that every day I catch myself sighing with contentment and counting my blessings. And while some days are hectic and exciting, my goal is to lead a calm and fulfilling life, for I believe one can have both peace and fulfillment. So if your dreams are exactly the size you want and provide the right amount of comfort to you… know you’re not alone. I truly admire those who constantly strive for better and/or more, but I also admire those who know when they have the best and sit back to enjoy it.  Now if I just had that glass of lemonade…

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  1. Just found this post and it’s a great one. A very timely post for us in the January self-improvement fervour too. I totally agree that we just can’t do it all. Nobody can possibly keep 100% on top of all the stuff i.e. social life, work, family, healthy, spirituality, chores, volunteering etc etc. We just *can’t* do it all, so something’s gotta give (or all of it’s gotta give a bit).

    One piece of research that’s come to my attention recently says that willpower is a limited resource – i.e. if we spend it all making ourselves exercise then we’ll struggle to stop smoking and do a hobby and focus really hard at work or whatever. I find this very helpful with losing weight – I’ve got to make it a priority and downsize other things in my life or I just can’t do it.

  2. Kinda crying at this. This has been my greatest revelation with the past year. Calmness and everyday amazing is what I want. And by everyday amazing, I mean coffee with a smiling person, an early morning snuggle with a sleeping 3 year old. You are so, so right and a wonderful writer to put this into words.

  3. This post almost made me shed a tear. Granted, it’s 1:41am so my emotions may be getting the best of me at this ungodly hour. But still…this post is everything and MORE. Thank you for typing this. It was much needed for someone like myself.

    Like yourself, I am always genuinely proud of my friends that continue to accomplish all they want in life AND have the hunger to strive for more. It’s really awe-inspiring. Not once have I ever felt jealous or envious. To me it’s like keep doing you and I’ll be over here doing me.

  4. Ha there must be something in the air! I wrote a post on this same thing about a week ago. It is crazy how you can catch yourself comparing and doubting that what you have is great just because it isn’t “magazine worthy.” I am admittedly, very bad about this, but it makes me feel better to know I’m not alone in those moments. Great post!

  5. Awesome post. I constantly remind myself of this. I don’t want “perfection” or the perfection defined in magazines or pinterest. I would rather do something fun with family and friends and have a messy house than miss out on those opportunities. It took spending years of Saturday’s cleaning for me to have an epiphany of why I was making myself miserable.

  6. Wow – I feel like I could have written that! Thank you so much for putting into words a general feeling I could not quite describe. My life feels full and fulfilling, and I believe in the Buddhist principle that you can only be happy in the present moment, so if you embrace and savor what you have now, rather than constantly striving, you will find both peace and happiness. I also feel like I strived a lot in my 20s and early 30s, now have children and a satisfying career – so think it makes sense to cool off from the striving a bit.

  7. I’m letting out a giant *sigh*! I begin feeling like something is wrong with me or I fell off the “merry go round” of life sometimes when I look at pins! Don’t get me wrong, I do love it, but yes, I feel the same. Also, a lot of pinners I think are thiry-somethings or under. I think I’ll start a board for over fifty/and still beautiful no matter your weight! Nice post!

  8. This was a great post. I have followed for awhile; I am not a commenter, but definitely a reader…had to say that I loved and needed this. I am about to return to FT after years of PT and putting my career on the back burner…and this post echoed the busy (balancing act) life I had and miss to some extent. I needed a reminder that it is totally okay to not be perfect, Superwoman, whatever, and to just be me. We do the best we can, and what works for us is what happiness really is. 🙂 Thanks!

  9. So true! You are an inspiration on some many levels…
    (Still, I am not saying that if I should ever move to DC I would not try to convince you to do some fashion consulting professionally… 😉 )

  10. Yes! I turned 50 this past year and did a lot of thinking about how I want to spend my life. I don’t have it all together just yet but I *did* spend almost every evening having a little “porch time” with wine and music until it got too cold. That one, simple thing revolutionized my life and make me acutely aware of how important it is to live in the moment.

  11. This is wonderful! Sometimes I’m envious of women with big dreams and successful careers – but when I think about it, I really am extraordinarily happy just having a part-time job and spending my free time doing nothing much besides hanging out with my husband and friends and family. I don’t want much more than that.

    1. So true! Sometimes one can be really envious of others. Even the people you think have it all together, aren’t as perfect as we might think. It can be really shocking sometimes when you admire and envy someone for their successfull career, perfect husband and family, beautiful house, but come to the conclusion that they are so busy at achieving things and following what I call the socially imposed steps of life (having a house at 25, a baby at 30, a promotion at 35, …), that they appear not that happy as you thought. Fb and other social media sometimes give such a wrong image on how people are doing. I think it’s not a bad idea to sometimes take a step back from all of this and spend more time ‘being’ than ‘doing’ and comparing yourselves less to others. Everybody needs to decide for themselves how much ‘doing’ and ‘being’ they want in their lives I believe. I’m also currently working part-time since everything was going a bit to fast. I have 3 diploma’s and a lot of people don’t get it why I am currently less ambitious/active, but at the moment I need to have some free time to think about certain things, to slow down a bit. t’s so great to hear in the comments that there are a lot of women who are fed up with the socially imposed ideas of what is considered a fullfilling life.

  12. So well said. Thank you. I’ve been over the top with my resolutions this year, one of which was to learn how to keep house, and I’ve gone so crazy with it that I am not calm, and I am not happy, even if my house is spotless. Thank you for telling us it’s okay to have dust bunnies 😀

  13. I think the key is knowing yourself and what makes YOU truly happy, not what other think would make you happy. For me right now, it means I am a (sometimes frazzled) stay at home military wife and mother to a 2.5 year old boy. It does mean I am not actively using my college degree (to the bafflement of some of my extended family.) It doesn’t mean I don’t have “someday” dreams. More importantly, it means I am where I need/want to be today. Thanks Allie!

  14. Yes! That’s what matters. We are human “beings” not human “doings.” There’s enough pressure in life without feeling it has to be one big self-improvement project.

  15. Oh my lordy, I love this: “It seems that every fifth pin is a woman with a six-pack telling me that if my dreams don’t scare me they aren’t big enough.” I am so tired of that sh!t !!!

    You know what my dream is ? To not have to run down to the basement in the morning to get clean underwear for the girls, because their clean underwear is in the underwear drawer. To not overcommit. To have time to sit on the couch with my husband EVERY SINGLE NIGHT to snuggle and watch tv or chat. To have time to pray or do yoga everyday. And it that dream isn’t big enough for somebody else, they can go take a long walk off of a short pier.

    A semi-professional blogger laughed right in my face a few months ago when she was giving me tips on how to grow my readership via twitter and I responded “Those are great ideas, but I’m not sure I want to spend the time doing all that.” She said, “Oh, so you just blog as a HOBBY ?” with a condescending tone. I said “Yep, been blogging as a hobby for almost five years now and forming some great relationships with people online and having time to comment regularly on the blogs I read. Yep, that’s my hobby !”

    Now that Mr. Quimby and myself have gotten over our rough patch from last Spring, I am happier than I have ever been in my life. Instead of dreaming new dreams, I count my blessings every.single,day.

    Thanks so much for this – I totally feel validated !!!

  16. I love this! I have a small blog and I do it because it’s fun for me, not to launch some new and (apparently) lucrative career in the fashion field. I love the choices I’ve made in regards to my education, career, and personal life and I agree that it’s perfectly okay to love the life one has and want for nothing more.

  17. Very nicely said. Peace is a great thing.. and hard to achieve when some folks around you never seem to have it! Great post.

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