Monday, June 9, 2008

Moments for Me Monday: To Have Succeeded

Before I had children I often had problems finding purpose and meaning in my life - I'd think there was no real reason to do things. I mean, why did it matter in the grand scheme of things that I didn't do the laundry, or dishes or call that friend-of-a-friend back? In 10 years it wouldn't matter and I didn't know that girl so well anyway.

Instead I would sit in a lump in front of the TV for hours, or would read a book from cover to cover in a state of semi-depression, feeling as though I had no real direction. I feel silly writing about this, but its melancholy I've dealt with all my life, not any REAL problem and for that I'm grateful.

Around the time that I graduated from college, I was shopping in the mall with my Mom. Trips to the mall with her are TORTURE for me - she's a browser and takes f o r e v e r to make up her mind about anything. She was doing the usual when I found a small framed print with a quote from an Emerson poem at the bottom.

It made me see for the first time that I didn't have to do anything HUGE to matter in this world, and that maybe success (or self-worth) as I originally thought it to be wasn't the only or best definition. I Googled the quote and found the entire poem. It still exists as sort of a motto or mission statement for my life.

Having children has helped immensely, too. I mean, what better way to feel like you're doing something meaningful and important with your life?

To Have Succeeded

To laugh often and love much:
To win respect of intelligent people
And the affection of children;
To earn the approbation of honest critics
And endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To give one's self;
To leave the world a little better,
Whether by a healthy child,
A garden patch,
Or redeemed social condition;
To have played and laughed with enthusiasm
And sung with exultation;
To know even one life has breathed easier
Because you have lived...This is to have succeeded.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
*Some sources question whether Emerson really wrote this, but I'm stickin' with it...


LittlePaintedPolkaDots said...

I love your M4M! I am going to print the poem and put in a place I can read it often.

Marni Tiani Self said...

What a great post. I'll have to bookmark this.

Toni said...

That is great poem!

Anonymous said...

Well said.

Happy2bme said...

What a great M4M!!

lovelylalo said...

Wow I really like that one..not sure what the M4M is, I am not a member but I enjoyed it anyhow.

Enjoy the rest of your week.

THopgood said...

That is a fantastic poem! I think I'll print it. Thanks for sharing!

Mr Linky is gone for now until I can figure out how to get it back on my posts...ever since the blog redesign I can't get it to post.

And that sweaty man was on my lap because my SIL sent him my way! That sweaty man PUT my hand on his sweaty ass! You really can't tell from the side view of my face but I was actually quite mortified and went immediately to the bathroom to disinfect myself when he was finished. EW!