Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I Believe That We All Can Have "The Good Life," Part Deux

This post is part 2 of my entry for the February Green Mom's Carnival, which will be posted over at The Smart Mama .

(Continued from yesterday) I sat with all of this for a few days, pondering it as I went through my routines. I finished reading one book, and it was time for another. I went to my stack of books and randomly grabbed a new book to read. I came up with The Pulpwood Queens’ Tiara-Wearing Book-Sharing Guide to Life by Kathy Patrick that I had picked up two years ago at BEA (my stack of books is mighty – it takes awhile to work my way through it!). I wasn’t really expecting much – I’m not much of a “girly” book type, and this one does have a hot pink cover - but am always interested in books about books, and people who share my obsession.

And what do you know? More of “my” ideas, in print. Here was my new BFF Kathy Patrick endorsing my theory of a passionate, worth-while life. (Filling in the blanks: Kathy dropped out of college, went to beauty school, went to work in a bookstore and fell in love with the business. Eventually became a publisher’s rep, a job she adored. Then she got laid-off, and when she and her family had trouble getting by on just her husband’s income, she opened Beauty and the Book, a combination Hair Salon/Book Store out of her home and a direct result of her skills and passions). Unsurprisingly, it took off. The Pulpwood Queens book clubs did too, as did Kathy’s literacy programs.

"How do you go about finding that sort of satisfaction that comes about by doing valuable and enjoyable work? You can start by asking simple questions. What am I passionate about? Do I have a special talent or gift? What part of my life gives me the most personal satisfaction? The trouble with most of us women is that we are just so damn busy taking care of other people all day, we forget what we like or don’t like. If we have talent, we downplay it. We hide our passion for everyday things such as taking care of children, mowing yards, cleaning house, or being a hairdresser. We think people will think less of us for enjoying those things. Let me tell you that there is absolutely nothing wrong with serving others. The sooner we realize that, the sooner we can give respect back to those who make our lives easier and more enjoyable. Caring for others is a calling, too.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that success means having a big paycheck and the corner office, a big McMansion and a fancy car, or finding your fifteen minutes of fame. Every day since I opened Beauty and the Book has been a blessing. I may hot have much money, but I am doing what I love, so I am rich in life. I’ve got plenty of riches – my faith, family, friends, my Pulpwood Queens, my books, and the deep satisfaction I get from promoting literacy in communities across the country. Now that’s my story and I’m sticking to it." (from Page 18)

I am not suggesting that you do not “work.” What I AM suggesting is that work doesn’t have to feel like death, like a trap, like a vice around your neck, like something you are doing “for the sake of the family.” Some of my dearest friends are stuck in the trap – they say “oh, we’d love to have a life like yours, but…” (…we have to save for our retirement, in four years we’ll be vested, we want to fix our house up before we sell it, we’re afraid…). But, but, but...

I certainly do not want to browbeat you into simplicity (hmmm, that’s really kind of a funny concept). However, if you are interested in a life that is richer, deeper and more fulfilling, it is totally possible. Choose to be happy. Or not. It’s up to you – if you change your definition of “having it all,” you really can.


  1. Great post Alline! You know I have been thinking about this subject a lot. Looking forward to reading more blogs on your site.


  2. browbeat you into simplicity better do something with that...i see a category all unto it's own!!


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