Friday, January 10, 2014

Celebrating Success

What does that mean to you?  It seems to conjur up many ideas and sometimes it depends on just where you are at in your life's journey.  Just like any other "journey", I have come to believe that it is important to choose where you want to go and then start planning how you are going to get there.  There may be many paths to choose from.  Don't be afraid of picking the wrong one.  Sometimes when you are on a journey, the detours and side trips are the most memorable!  Just don't forget to get back on track to that big goal!

For me, I am able to enjoy many successes, not because I feel like "I have arrived".  But instead it is about how far I have come rather than how far I have yet to go.  Most people, by the time they reach a certain age, have had to overcome lots of trials, difficult circumstances and heartaches.  That is life!  In my world, success is when you accept your situation and figure a way to move around or beyond it.  One of my most life changing moments that I recall is during a difficult time and I was talking to my boss and she asked me if I had made any decision yet about what I was dealing with.  At that very moment, I looked at her and I said, "Yes, I have decided... to be HAPPY".  I knew that from that point on, all of my decisions would have to be based on that one big decision.  That would be my goal from there on!

Being a handbag designer is not what I ever imagined for myself.  When I was young, at first I wanted to be a medical secretary and then a hair dresser.  Those paths may have worked as well as the ones I took that lead me to where I am today.  But ultimately, the goal was to be happy!

I haven't always lived in "Paradise".  Sometimes people may think that because I live in Hawaii and own my own home and get to do what I want to do for a living that life has been easy.  I am not here to complain, but let me just set the record straight because I want to give hope to all the other women out there who don't like what their life looks like.  You may not realize it today, but you do have the power to change it.  It can get better.  With every hurdle that you overcome, I hope you celebrate your success.

Me at age 25 with my daughter
Few people know that when I was a young mom with two little ones, more than once I had to stand in "cheese lines" in Montana and Idaho for basic commodities to feed my kids. I felt humiliated and ashamed.   I looked at the other people in line and wondered if they saw me and my kids the same way I was seeing them.  I had to, on another occassion, fill out paperwork for emergency assistance and was so grateful for the macaroni that the Salvation Army gave to me, even though when I cooked it, worms floated to the top of the boiling water and I just scooped them out and prepared a meal anyway.  I was 21 years old and pregnant with my second child.  I understand what it feels like to be homeless, relying on the kindness of others and having to use a dresser drawer as a bassinet for my newborn son.  Believe me, there were many days that I felt much more like a failure than a success.

I am grateful for so many things in my life that have changed since those days.  Mostly, I think it is me that has changed.  When you figure out what things in life you really want and decide to work your butt off,
 that in itself is a success. Don't lose sight of where you want to end up.   Life is full of small things that when added up can change who you are.  They can make you "bitter or better".  When that choice is before you, I hope you choose "better".  There is room in this world for everyone to be a success!

a hui hou