Category Archives: success

Things that matter

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Lucy Hunnicutt
Generous Neighbor

Where is that place in life that you feel success? I don’t mean the superficial success of accumulations – for that habit is insatiable and never gives you the feeling I refer to here. I mean that feeling that you have done those things that move you forward as a person, those deeds that have placed you in the hierarchy of humanitarianism, something that gives you that feeling you have made a difference. Perhaps it is fleeting, perhaps it is just a sudden rush that you will remember and that memory will want to make you do it again – like a drug but without the negative side effects – I have had a few moments in my life when I have felt really good, lately they always involve my children and where they are in life. I suppose that would be the answer given by all moms. I have a personal moment when someone likes my art – either a painting or a column – and that, not the exchange of currency, is what gives me the rush, the green light, to do more. I think it all gets murky and dark when money finds its way into the equation. It is difficult to find those things in life that are pure – I am most successful when I look to nature and the arts, but this purity I write of is becoming more and more obscure.

 Action expresses priorities.

Mahatma Gandhi
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how do you spell success?

The twins have been gone for nearly a complete week and I am feeling much better. What is the saying about a mother being only as happy as her saddest child? Well, with that in mind, I am feeling happy. I am happy for all the obvious reasons – safe arrival, good apartment, everyone is nice, great school, but, more importantly, I am at peace over the “other” things – the pursuit (and hopefully acquisition) of independence, the display of creativity, resourcefulness, growth, experience, and the satisfaction of “getting through” – all of the things we , as parents, want for our children .These are the tools we hope to give them, for we cannot give them their “success”, they have to earn that on their own or it is never theirs, we can only give them a few useful tools and endless support.
I, like a certain football player in the news, thank God for this little spot in my life – this little place of peace, a place that is difficult to locate, illusive and I know, fleeting. I will rest here for a moment, however brief, and be grateful for my time here. I know  there will be “rain” again and I know I have little control over how this all turns out but I also know we have to try in life, that’s the easy part, to keep trying is what separates winning from losing.

I am not referring to my twins at this point, I am just babbling in general rhetoric that their situation reminds me of – I just have noticed that most all of us “will try something once” but few of us will stick to something that doesn’t give instant gratification – the ones that do, however, I think, achieve success. I have lived long enough to see this happen. People that begin on modest little footpaths of life, nothing special, no obvious road to “prosperity”, find success and satisfaction when others, seemingly more prepared, do not. What you don’t see is that determination to stick to “it” and after time, they have arrived at a place that is far ahead of those who have bigger promise and potential but lack the discipline and commitment to “stick to it”. I see that often in the school setting. Disadvantaged kids – disadvantaged on all levels, socioeconomic, family situations, and health – achieve far beyond those kids that were born into privilege. I think of that nearly every day that I walk the halls of the high schools – opportunities and success are not promised to a select group of people, it is something only a certain kind of person can achieve, a person with discipline. 

Something else that is giving me continued contentedness is my nearly zero spending exercise. I, of course, buy groceries – but not a lot, mostly fresh produce – and petro and materials and services for repairs around the house but nothing superficial. It is so freeing to just say no to all that I am bombarded and threatened with, it’s not my concern. Keeping more of my money is great but it is really way beyond that for me – it is a lifestyle choice. I have, in the past, consumed more than my share, and I regret that about myself, but, henceforth, I hope to continue to be mindful about my purchases. I draw from the examples of my mother, my grandmothers, and a wonderful friend and mentor, Miss Sue – they all, for whatever the reason, practiced conservative spending – frugality – and I believe, it is a trait to be revered. It’s very easy to spend; it takes discipline and real character to “make do”, however. Anyway, I am slowly withdrawing from the addiction of consumerism that is gripping our society and overriding our purpose. It is freeing.

So, there, two goals, both requiring very much discipline but, I believe, offering much reward in the long run – sticking to something you believe in and turning away from the propaganda that is trying to define you (and rob you). I suppose I have just “verbalized” my resolutions without really meaning to!
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My aunt died last night, my mother’s older sister. She was 83 and had lived a full life – nearly 20 years more than my mother. I will miss knowing she is “here”. Since my mother’s death, I have not seen my aunt as often as before, but I always knew she was there, there at the top of the familial lineage. She knew the answers to so many questions about long ago, about my mother, about their mother, about the contents of times past; that and she are gone.My mom would tell me how she was a teenager during WWII and how that was very difficult to spend those years of youth in wartime – she remembers her singing in the front bedroom of their tiny house, singing songs from sheet music and wishing things were different. I can remember so much about her life , the wonderful way she cooked fresh fish and baked sweet pies (tarts), and spoke French, and drank coffee in demitasse cups, and was my mom’s big sister, and mother to her four children, but one thing I remember most was her coming to my rescue when I was 39 and expecting a baby. I will not go into the story, but I hope she knows I still remember and am still thankful for her.
 We all have our turn to die, just as we all have our time to live – it’s the living that is important and sometimes difficult, dying will come in its own time. Funny, but just today I read a quote by Emerson posted on the wall above the microwave in the building I work in, it said:
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends. To appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” ( Ralph Waldo Emerson)
…my aunt  succeeded.
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I want to find time to read more – historical books about people and food and the earth. Winter is nearly gone; maybe it will be summer reading. It has to be winter or summer; spring and fall are too busy in the garden and the yard. I think I would find everything in my life to be deeper and more powerful if I read about its history – origins, birth, beginnings, foundations. It seems everything and everyone is constantly evolving, never really arriving or getting “there” but everyone and everything has been “there” and that “there” is tangible and I can learn from it – everything else is speculation.
I found this random quote and I do not know who coined it (so sorry);I kinda like it:
 “If you advance with confidence in the direction of your dreams, and begin to live the life you imagine, you’ll meet with success beyond your wildest imagination.” Cool

Now, don’t substitute the word “success” with “money” – not the same thing, totally different stuff, not even close…