my 20s

location does not determine success

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i am a dreamer. i seriously have it in my head that if you put your mind to something, it’s possible. but this summer i realized i was holding myself back from reaching any dream, big or small, in a real way. and i actually have been for the last 23 years of my life.

i have been praying and thinking about this idea that location does not determine success for a couple of weeks. right now it’s 9:12 p.m. and i am scratching my other post for tomorrow to make way for this one because i just really need to tell you all what’s been on my heart, mainly because i have a feeling many of you might be limiting yourself in the same way.

i want this to be clear so here’s the bottom line: i have been looking for a ‘place’ that will give me the red, sparkly shoes for my dreams to come true. as i look for a job, i have a bit of a tunnel vision on big cities like LA, San Francisco, New York. i dream about spending my mid-twenties in some high-rise apartment, paying my dues by drinking tap water and eating ramen while working 70 hour weeks. i don’t see any other way to get to where i want to go other than this path.

it was the same when i was looking at colleges. when i chose slu, i chose it over a school in sunny california. i think i always thought that since i didn’t go to school in california, i shouldn’t even try the fashion or blogging side of me because i thought it would only reach dead ends in a city like st louis. to be honest, that’s not the most fun realization to have.

then the other day i started thinking about what i want. like seriously what do i want from life? i think this started as a result of my mom’s scare with cancer and resulted in me giving serious thought to where i want to live, how close i want to be to my family + friends and what i just couldn’t live without.

i started to think about all the flashy cities i had been so set on living in and why i was clinging to that idea. and this was what i realized: i thought that my location would determine my success. i thought that if i ‘settled’ and lived in a smaller city, that i wouldn’t find any creative outlets, that i wouldn’t be successful and that i wouldn’t be as happy.

and i think that’s a big load of baloney.

as i mentioned above, my happiness doesn’t honestly come from my career. it comes from my relationships, from my ability to find beauty anywhere i live, from the joy i feel in building genuine community.

so what if i was actually closing the door on a great plan He has for my life by not considering anything but what i thought was ‘right’ for me? what if that was actually me saying no to my greatest happiness? that’s a pretty crazy thought, that i could be saying no to a family He has dreamed out for me (that i really want), a dreamy future hubs, a big backyard for hosting get togethers.

maybe god knows my heart and is trying to lead more towards it. but what if i miss it because i was set on living where it all happens?

what i realized this summer is that ‘it’ happens everywhere. people create businesses out of their garage on an online shop. bloggers become famous because of their passion and ability to create good content. and what about non-career success? what if my greatest success in life is that god leads me to a smaller city but a dreamy husband that also wants a gajillion kids? because that would make me the happiest of all and i don’t think being a mom would make me any less successful than a killer career.

does this mean that i wouldn’t accept a job in new york? not at all. it means i am now trying to be more open to His plan because i just want to be happy and He knows my heart better than anyone. i don’t want to limit His plans for my life because of my need for control. i want to be as open as i can but truthfully? it’s scaring the heebie jeebies out of me.

i like to think i know the path to my happiness. but it has given me such a genuine relief that i don’t have to have this white-knuckled grasp on my life. knowing that He has a wonderful plan for my life as long as i am willing takes so much pressure off of me and my location. that means i can be happy and successful anywhere He places me.

i guess what i am trying to say is that you can have success anywhere and in any form. i have met amazing creatives where i work at anthropologie, met christian women who i know i’ll be friends with forever and have found places to photograph in fresno, ca which is not a super hip, glam town by any means. it’s normal. it’s the suburbs. but now that i am open to its opportunities, i see them. now that i have let go of the thought that this farm town could never bring me happiness, it’s bringing me just that.

so if you’re a mom in one bedroom house nursing a baby or a college grad who landed a job in your dream city or you’re picking herbs from your garden at 7 am like me: we can all pursue our dreams because your location does not determine your success.

He does.


vibed to a mix of head + the heart while writing.

6 thoughts on “location does not determine success

  1. Allie

    Love this so much – I’m in my last semester of college classes before student teaching and realizing that teaching in Metro/urban schools may not be my calling after all, no matter how much I feel like it would be the “right” move for my career. God is so good in the way He reveals these things to us. Thanks for sharing your heart!


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