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Submitted by sarah on Fri, 02/26/2010 - 10:47
Today saw another evolution for me in my personal journey as an advocate. I attended a meeting today and it stretched my thinking on not only "what" I want and need to say to get out the necessary information (or at least the information I think necessary)but also now "how" or perhaps a better descriptive "where" I should be saying it. I left that meeting and had a long drive to another town, and as I often do on these long drives I began reflecting on many items, my mind becoming a whirlwind of ideas, and plans, and preparations for how to "change the world".
Ten years ago those goals seemed lofty, and at the same time reasonable goals to aim for, because when advocating, often the end goal is indeed a lofty one. Now, ten years later, if I keep this same definition of personal success, I guess I would be hanging up my hat and saying I have reached my goals as an advocate and now should move on. Well, obviously that is not what I am doing and in reality I feel there is still very much to still do, and no longer do I hold those as definitions of ultimate success, indicating that I have done my job of advocacy well enough to have seen success outside of my own person.
Now, my definition of success has very little to do with me personally, and much to do with what I would like to see happen in the bigger picture. I can also say that there are successes I have realized along the way, that when I began I doubt I would have said that if achieved they should be considered success, or perhaps more accurately, that I probably did not consider at all. When I began this journey I was a mom who wanted better for her child, and was willing to knock on any door, talk to any person, or write any letter in an effort to do that. It has been along the way that I have learned, grown, and learned that really I have only just begun to scratch the service of what I need to do personally to achieve success, and what we together need to do to achieve success. The constants however I believe are the constants, and when you boil it right down, if they are truly realized we will indeed realize that ultimate success; no one person, organization, agency, community, political party, or mom wanting to do what is right for her child will alone achieve the end result. Only by joining together, by uniting in not only our message, but in our goals and objectives will we see the desired outcomes. The other constant - our children deserve better, our youth should expect the strongest foundations for success, and they are not getting that. Therefore, when I stop a moment and try to bring all the whirlwinds of ideas together I realize this: The Goal: To achieve better for our children and youth suffering from mental health disorders. The How: By doing it together, united, one voice. The Trick: Getting there! I still wake up every day wishing things were better for my daughter, and willing to do just about anything to help there, and I wake up every day also acknowledging that this is not a journey one ventures on alone, or without the willingness to continue to learn, grow, and admit one's weaknesses, and be able to own one's strengths. I still look forward to the people I will meet along my path, am thankful for those in my life because of the paths I have already travelled, and in those very special moments, I realize how much ground we have actually made in the past ten years, and how energizing it is when I consider what we have to look forward to when we achieve that ultimate success!