business of blogging Infertility life & family my random thoughts

What Is Success?

Success means different things to different people… or it should anyway, but more specifically, success seems to be almost exclusively tied with fame or fortune – and more importantly, both, without many variables in between.

But is success really that clear-cut and uncompromising? If it were based solely on fame and fortune, then would you consider the cast of Jersey Shore, for example, to be successful? Usually success is determined by a talent and/or skill and pursuing a dream diligently through hard work, passion, and dedication. Obviously from an outside perspective, the thought of Snooki being successful for basically doing nothing, seems absurd. But what if, however, HER goal in life was to be on a reality TV show and have fame and fortune by being a “Guidette”? Then her personal goal is met and she is a success. And since, to the rest of the world, fame and fortune together equal the highest level of success, she wins there too.

But what about smaller personal successes, like quitting smoking for instance? Or being a good parent, daughter, friend, or sister? Those are valued goals, right? So why does the world as a whole, disregard those types of little successes in life as ordinary and place such a high value on less extraordinary successes like fame and fortune?

Do you have to make money at the goal or passion you are pursuing in order for it to be considered a success?

When I was in my 20’s and dealing with pretty gripping anxiety and agoraphobia, I felt like a complete failure. I had tried my hand at a number of jobs and careers and while I had some success with each, I was not happy. I hadn’t found that one thing I could call my own, and that was a very important goal for me throughout my life.

Back then I knew I’d be a mom “someday” and was so looking forward to raising a family I could call my own that I never once thought I’d have trouble getting pregnant. So in my early 30’s when we began trying for a baby and not succeeding, it really came as a complete shock to me, as it often does to other women as well. It was a different kind of failure this time, one that no matter how hard I tried, I could not succeed at.

Beyond coming to terms with feeling like a failure as a woman and not being able to get pregnant, which were hard enough to swallow, I had to logically accept that this part of my life which I had been so certain about for so long, was probably not going to happen the way I thought it was. After metaphorically banging my head against the wall, I had to look at the truth of my situation and re-evaluate my dreams, desires, and goals {present & future} or else chance becoming a depressed and lost victim living in a kind of “What life was supposed to be like” misery. This transition didn’t happen overnight, as you may know if you’ve been following my infertility story from the beginning, but I forged on and found that I could have a full life and find success down other avenues.

In 2007, after scrapping a blog I began to document what I thought was a pregnancy, I created this blog instead. My original goal with it was to be able to be my own boss and eventually earn enough from it to be able to be a stay at home or work at home mom when I did finally become pregnant and have kids. I was a graphic and web designer at the time and for the 10 years prior, so building a blog, knowing the ins and out of the internet and how to make money via advertising online, was second nature to me. The technical skills I had were advantageous, though I really knew nothing about blogging – -or myself at the time. It wasn’t until the following year though that something extraordinary started happening: blogging actually gave me my life back again after years of panic and anxiety and feeling like a complete failure.

It flooded me with my lost passion for fashion, style, decorating and all kinds of creative projects and lost dreams I thought I’d never accomplish. The creative person I had always been was free again and bubbling with ideas as I had remembered “her” years before. Most of all, my passion for life and living returned with a vengeance and slowly the panic, fear, anxiety, and agoraphobia dissipated. I was finally outside my own headspace again creating the life of my dreams. That in itself, was a success.

After 10 years of flopping and flailing and fearing life, I finally felt like myself again and now, 5 years after creating …, I can say that as per my original blogging goal, which was to earn a living and work at home, I am a success. I am not only earning a living but have created a new career and am open to all new possibilities in life.

I have not, however, been successful at fulfilling the “mom” part of the original goal.

As I sit here now, happy with where I am at in my life, I can see how all of those odd jobs I had in my past quietly and willfully led me to any success I have in my life now. Certainly not by opportunity but more by what I learned doing and working at each of them, adding up to a bag-full of skills and life-experience that I’ve cultivated into something that works for me on a number of levels.

I remember thinking when I was a few years into my graphic and web design “fallback” career, that I hated working freelance and wished I could create a web site of sorts that was all my own, where I could share my style, hair and makeup tips, DIYs and more, and make a living doing it. This was in or around the late 90’s, where blogs – while they may have existed – weren’t even close to what they are today.

In those years, while working freelance web and graphic gigs, acting and singing, I was also doing makeup for a headshot photographer which taught me more about lighting and photography than I could have ever learned in school. During those years I had no idea that holding the lighting boards for him and going through countless rolls of film – and then digital photos, would help me now, as much of my blog is photography based as well as posing and taking photos of my outfits.

I find it so interesting that only in retrospect I can see how each and everything I did gave me skills that I use every single day now. If only I could have known then that they were purposefully in my life to teach me a valuable skill that I would use for my future, I would have probably enjoyed the moments doing them much much more.

I think with success, as with anything in life, you have to start somewhere… and you never know just where that somewhere will lead you. I thought I knew what I wanted in life and I thought for sure I would be a “mom” more than anything else. But I am happy and my life looks very different than I thought it would when I was 13 years old. I am, in a strange way though, living a dream life I had imagined at some point or another. Life is a series of journeys and if I have learned anything, it has been that patience is truly a virtue. But so is persistence and passion and hard work. I think success, more than anything, is living what you love, because that is truly what makes us most happy, regardless of how much it pays. The money that comes with it or from it is neither good, nor bad, it simply is.


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Maegan Tintari

LA native & lifestyle blogger Maegan Tintari writes daily at sharing beauty & style secrets, including fashion DIYs, how-to nail art manicures, hair tutorials, recipes & home decorating ideas, as well as a look into her personal life, her journey & battle with infertility & recent relocation to the mountains by a lake in search of a better life with her adorable French Bulldog brothers, Trevor and Randy.

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