life | Living purposefully | living simply

A full life or a fulfilling life? Or both?

hot air balloons

I read a wonderful post the other day that brought a big smile to my face. John Anthony James is a fellow writer and blogger whose blog I have been reading for a few years now. The other day he wrote a post titled, ‘Making Room For Myself’. You can read the full post here, (and please do), but basically John was talking about how he has been making room in his life for himself, and for what makes him happy. In his case; writing.

JJ spoke about being grateful that he is in a position that he can focus on his writing, and himself, but he also explained it has been a long, planned journey.

I smiled for JJ as he deserves to be in that position. He has worked hard, made sacrifices and chosen his path, and is now reaping the rewards. And I smiled, because, in some ways, it mirrors my own journey.

Although we are completely different in many ways: he lives in a city, me in the country, he has a partner and no kids, and I’m married with four kids, we are also very similar. We both love writing, we are both introverts, and we both appreciate the fullness of a simple life. And we have both worked hard to make it happen.

JJ’s post has been replaying on the turntable of my mind all day, making me realise how my definitions of life, success, contentment and fulfilment have changed over the years.

Once upon a time, I thought a full life was determined by how ‘busy’ I was, how successful I was and how others perceived me. (That in itself is another post!)

Now, a full life for me means surrounding myself with the things that bring me joy and contentment. And this applies to all areas of my life that I value; work, family and leisure.

Work for me now, although at times busy and overwhelming, is moving towards calm and rewarding. As a freelancer working from home, I can choose my own hours, and I’m doing more copywriting than article writing which I’m finding more rewarding and fruitful. I am at a point where I can choose what work I take on, and what I don’t. And that feels good.

Family life and needs change from minute to minute, as it does with four daughters at different stages of their lives. But family comes first. Now, I’m at a point where I afford our children opportunities and choices, to help them become the best people they can be. And by affording I mean financially, spiritually and time-wise.

Leisure for me means making time for health and fitness, and for the things that make me smile. Writing, travelling and choosing experiences over material things.

But as JJ points out in his own post, it has been a purposeful and deliberate path to this point.

Both my husband and I have worked hard, damn hard, to get to this where we are now. There has been long hours, many sacrifices and times when we were close to hitting rock bottom. But we are both stubborn, and, in this case, that’s been a good thing!

So while it’s great that I am in this position, I certainly don’t undervalue how fortunate I am. Fortunate that I have a great partner who is as strong, tough and as determined as I am to work towards the few things we value: family, travel and experiences.

A full life isn’t always a fulfilling life, but fulfilling life is always a full one.

And you can quote me on that.


How do you define full and fulfilling?

Linking with Essentially Jess for IBOT