Nothing. Or Everything?

posted in: Blogging, Life, NaBloPoMo 33 comments

There are no medals on trophies on the mantel (not that we have a mantel). No plaques or blue ribbons (or ribbons of any kind). No book spines with my name on it, and nary a byline in print. No titles like M.D., PhD, or whatever else is out there.

No accolades or recognized accomplishments. A 10 year career that stopped at senior manager, and my peers are CEOs and Managing Directors. No gold membership on my frequent flier card because, no more frequent flying. 

No inventions, or great ideas I can claim. No life or food hacks I invented. 

No book deal, no multimillion dollar contract, no possibilities of either.

No silver gowns to go with my pretty shoes, only old maternity pants and plain old black tee shirts. 

No awards, no yay you’re a winner, not even of the online/ virtual type. No Best Anything, No Most Promising Anything Either.

I don’t try for much, therefore I don’t expect anything. 

But to look back when I’m on my deathbed, and see nothing on the mantel, or wall, or bookshelf, will I have regrets? 

Stop trying or keep going? 

Are we defined by medals and trophies, accolades and awards? Or do we fill our tanks with just love and friendship? Is it enough to be acknowledged by your loved ones or the public? 

I do have a roof over my head, an awesome husband, and four children. 

So do countless others, with their wonderful spouses and children. As much love and pride there is in that, it is not an accomplishment, merely a quiet life built with blessings and gratitude. 

Is it ungrateful to look at what I have, and wish I had more?

A stream of consciousness post written in 10 minutes, unedited. I think I will develop this post later to something more well thought out. When I have time!


Alison Lee is a former PR and marketing professional turned work-at-home mother. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies, and of the worldโ€™s biggest sports brands, Alison traded in product launches and world travel, for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Alison's writing has been featured on Mamalode, On Parenting at The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Everyday Family, Scary Mommy, and She is one of 35 essayists in the anthology, My Other Ex: Womenโ€™s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends. In 2012, she founded Little Love Media, a social media consultancy specializing in blog book tours, and because she doesnโ€™t sleep, is an editor at BonBon Break, an online magazine. Alison lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with her husband and four children (two boys and boy/ girl twins).

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  • November 25, 2014 Janine Huldie

    Sometimes I think we all want more but can still be thankful for what we have – just keeps us striving for more I suppose;)
    Janine Huldie recently wrote…For the Next Birthday – Four Years Later with Lily…My Profile

    • November 26, 2014 Alison

      Yes, I suppose that’s our motivation? I feel like I’m still young and I have a lot more to do, outside of being a mother. I guess I just can’t see past the fog of being in the parenting trenches right now.

  • November 25, 2014 Vanessa D.

    I don’t think it’s wrong to wish for more any more than I think it’s wrong to be content with a quiet life. These days my goals are simply a job I enjoy doing and a settled life, but I’ve never been a very ambitious type. Contentment is enough for me.
    Vanessa D. recently wrote…You Need A DrillMy Profile

    • November 26, 2014 Alison

      I veer between being ambitious, and being content. Some days, I feel like that there is more I can do, and I haven’t done it yet.

  • November 25, 2014 Maureen

    Beautifully written in such a short time, Alison. I think just as every individual is different from one another, there is no right or wrong as long as in our heart we are honest and stay true to ourselves.
    Maureen recently wrote…5 Ways You Can Support Project SunlightMy Profile

    • November 26, 2014 Alison

      If I’m true to myself, I always want to do more. More, more, more. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • November 25, 2014 Gina

    I often have thoughts like this, too. But in the end, on my deathbed, I hope that I will feel more accomplished by how much I’ve loved and have been loved. Because I can’t take those awards and accolades with me. And though they may feel like love and respect, it means nothing without the support and love from my family.
    Gina recently wrote…When We Left the NICUMy Profile

    • November 26, 2014 Alison

      That is a wonderful perspective, Gina. Thank you.

  • November 25, 2014 Susi

    I believe that this is something all of us think about at one time or another. Coming to terms with the fact that not everyone’s name is supposed to be written in lights and that what we do everyday is enough, is the part that’s hard. I do believe it is good to always strive for more and to stay open minded to new things! I consider myself a life long learner.

    • November 26, 2014 Alison

      Yes, it is hard. That’s a great attitude, Susi, to be a lifelong learner. I need to be more like you. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • November 26, 2014 Allie

    I don’t think it’s “ungrateful,” I think it’s human. However, when I ponder things like this (and yes, I know I have medals and awards for racing) I think about my mom on her deathbed and I know for certain, she didn’t care about ANY of that. Her only thoughts were of her family and her only regrets were that she couldn’t spend more time with us. Health and family are the two utmost important things, in my humble opinion. All the rest is gravy.
    Allie recently wrote…The Rundown: RebuildingMy Profile

    • November 26, 2014 Alison

      Allie, YOU ARE RIGHT. We can’t take medals to the grave. We can only hope to leave this earth peacefully, knowing we loved and are loved.

  • November 26, 2014 Kerstin

    It’s not ungrateful to wish for more – because you are still thankful for what you have.
    I often wonder when enough is enough. I tell my daughter that I wish she would set the bar higher for her future (school, career…), but she’s quite happy with the bar being low. And isn’t that what matters?
    I think we really have to start with knowing that we are enough and once we’re at peace with that, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to accomplish something, with stretching and growing.
    Also: mantels get pretty dusty, I don’t even want one ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Kerstin recently wrote…It’s a Foursome!My Profile

    • November 26, 2014 Alison

      I don’t know when enough is enough. I really have no idea. I just know that I feel….. dissatisfied outside of motherhood. I feel that I can be more, do more. Maybe it’s just not the right time yet.

  • November 26, 2014 janice

    This is how I’m feeling today. And while I have no thoughts to add, it was nice reading your post and the comments, and to know that others feel like this too.
    janice recently wrote…What I Do When I Do NothingMy Profile

    • November 26, 2014 Alison

      It is nice to know we are not alone. I hope you find some answers.

  • November 26, 2014 My Inner Chick

    beautifully written, Alison Lee.
    If we have not loved & been loved in return, nothing matters a damn.

    My Inner Chick recently wrote…6 Early Signs of Domestic AbuseMy Profile

    • November 26, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Kim. You are absolutely right. xoxo

  • November 26, 2014 Elaine A.

    I like what Kerstin said. And it’s good to have goals and do what makes you happy no matter the titles or letters or whatever… ๐Ÿ™‚
    Elaine A. recently wrote…How To Take Holiday Family Photos Without Really Trying*My Profile

    • November 26, 2014 Alison

      You’re right of course. They are just letters of the alphabet ๐Ÿ™‚

  • November 26, 2014 Courtney

    I think you can be grateful and still have goals. Goals aren’t a reflection of ungratefulness or a lack of appreciation for what you have. It’s natural to feel this way, especially for the nonstop job that is motherhood.
    Courtney recently wrote…Holidays and Divorce: The GrandkidsMy Profile

    • November 26, 2014 Alison

      You’re right. We can have goals outside of motherhood. I do feel that I can do more and be more. I just need to figure out the right time.

  • November 26, 2014 greta

    Because you’re not famous doesn’t mean you don’t make a huge difference in the world. xo

    • November 27, 2014 Alison

      Heh. You’re right, Greta!

  • November 27, 2014 Tamara

    I have to confess that you’d look stunning in a silver gown!
    Off topic and all.
    I used to want an Oscar award. Not sure for what! I do want bigger things. they’ve downsized a bit in scale, but they’re still there.
    Tamara recently wrote…Warm Wordless Wednesday.My Profile

    • November 27, 2014 Alison

      When I was a kid, I’d pretend to accept awards and make a speech, lol/

  • November 29, 2014 Andrea B (

    This is such a beautiful post, Alison. I’m sorry it’s taken me some time to head over and catch up on your posts for November! But I love your round-up ones and this – this – is so so very much. It’s making my round-up for the month. ๐Ÿ˜‰ If I ever get that done!!

    It’s not ungrateful or selfish or whatever else you might fear. I know those feelings. I know and live them now and then. But it’s important to realize we’re allowed to feel and be and know what we want and to also remember that, hey, guess what? Other people think highly of you and recognize your strengths and that matters, too.
    Andrea B ( recently wrote…Shopping Deals: Black Friday and BeyondMy Profile

    • November 30, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Andrea. For all of this. And for including my post in your round up.

  • November 30, 2014 Elisa

    It is not ungrateful, no. I think it is human nature to strive for more. The trick is in figuring out what our ideal “more” is, the stuff that would add to our happiness. Because many people feel that “more” is about actual *stuff*, like designer clothes, fancy cars, ipads โ€“ but most people I think find that owning more doesn’t add to one’s happiness in a lasting way.

    I am still figuring out what my “more” is. I hope you can do the same! (And I hope that doesn’t sound patronizing โ€“ I only mean I can relate.)

    • December 3, 2014 Alison

      No, not patronizing at all!
      I am not sure what my *more* is. I think a sense of accomplishment? I don’t know. Yet.

  • December 3, 2014 Tonya

    I love this. For many reasons. I often think to myself… is this it? I haven’t really done all that much in my life, haven’t earned many accolades and such, but then again, I’m busy living and trying to be a good mom, wife, friend, sister and daughter-in-law and most days, that’s enough.
    Tonya recently wrote…Precious Firsts & LastsMy Profile

    • December 3, 2014 Alison

      That’s most of us, I think, just busy living the life we already have. The problem arises when that life doesn’t feel enough. Sigh.

  • December 19, 2014 Kara

    I hope it’s not ungrateful because I feel the EXACT. SAME. WAY. Wonderful job putting it into words.

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