One of my friends once told me, randomly and in passing, that she saw me as a successful person. I think we were talking about how people on the outside may view our lives and the word “successful” was thrown my way. And, honestly, it genuinely took me by surprise. I had spent years too busy chasing my version of “success” to take a step back and see if I’d already made it.
But what did my version of success actually look like? Really, it was a combination of things I am only really able to achieve one at a time.
Having a good job that I enjoy is the first thing that came to mind back then. I finally have that, so it is no longer top of the list. Debt free has now moved itself to the #1 position. Owning a house would be the second thing. Even better if I’m able to do it on my single-person salary. In Charlotte. In the neighborhood I want to be in. Because, let’s be honest, these housing prices are No. Joke. Married? I don’t even really have thoughts on that topic anymore. Mostly because I don’t have time.
While this conversation happened a long time ago, it still crosses my mind every now and then. Would “people” still see me as successful on the days I’m not sure I have time to do even the bare minimum of what it takes to be an adult?
On days like Monday, when one single action causes this fragile life I’ve built to seemingly crash and burn around me, I think that I’ll never get there. On days like Monday––when I don’t get home until 9:30pm from working two jobs and still have hours of work to do before I get to go to sleep, only to end up washing bed linens until after midnight because the cat decided to make a statement and pee on my bed for the SECOND TIME IN A WEEK––my anger and frustration all seem to rise to the surface at once and force me to question all of my life’s decisions so far. When it doesn’t feel like there are enough hours in the day no matter how early I get up to walk the dog or how late I’m up at night cutting up vegetables to throw into a crockpot hoping they come out edible enough to eat for the rest of the week, or washing every layer that happened to be on my bed at the time of the Unhappy Cat Situation (thank the good Lord for waterproof mattress covers––that was one thing I was prepared for).
How can anyone look at my life on that particular day and think that I could be even remotely successful?
Up until a couple of months ago, I had a plan and budget set that would land me in a house in 3 years. I was even going to pay off my car in a year and be able to double my contributions to the “house fund”. And then I totaled my car and had to buy a new one. Thankfully, I didn’t end up upside down on that loan, but I still went from 75% of the way to the finish line back to the start in the time it takes to glance at the Panthers stadium.
That’s not what success looks like to me.
But then there are days like Tuesday. When I got up early enough to spend some much-needed quality time with my serious ass of a cat, and early enough to take the dog on a nice, long walk and figure out a solution to the Unhappy Cat Situation (waterproof blankets are a thing, y’all), and I start to remember that I’ve got this somewhat under control.
I think all of us have figured out that life 100% never goes exactly according to plan. And apparently I need some major slap-in-the-face reminders about that on occasion, which is super inconvenient. But, for the most part––when I’m thinking with a clear head and not one riddled with how much my cat actually hates me––I know that there are enough hours in the day (and if there aren’t, I can get up early and make more), and maybe I can still buy that house in a few years, and maybe I don’t need that second job as much as I think I do. And maybe I just need to try to focus on one day at a time!?
On days like Tuesday, when I’ve had time to sleep and somewhat get over my disgust and anger at the cat, I start to see myself as a successful person despite having another full day of work and book club (my favorite day of the month).
Sometimes I have to remind myself that I’m doing more than the bare minimum required to be an adult, even though it most certainly doesn’t feel that way at times. I have to remind myself that I’ve got some major “adult” things in the works for 2018. And maybe one day I’ll see myself as successful 7 days out of the week versus the 5 or 6 that I see now.
I have to remind myself that I’m doing okay. And you probably are too.
P.S. If any readers have anything negative to say about Warren taking Gray’s place, save it. Seriously. I am over the comments on every photo I post that I don’t love the cat anymore. I love that little ungrateful shit and am doing everything I possibly can to make him happy.
Plus, he loves the dog. It’s me he’s mad at.
Anyway, be on the lookout for our episode of “My Cat From Hell”.