Originally uploaded by tartx.
I received an email recently that suggested that my blog was attracting some significant visitor traffic and I can see from the site meter that I'll soon be spanked for the 20,000 time. My email correspondent was quick to suggest this is a signficant accomplishment, and I'm inclined to agree. It's rewarding for me to know that the selfish reasons I started this blog have led it to become something that people read from time to time and hopefully enjoy visiting. The site started as an online journal, photo catalogue, and general dumping ground for any news, views, and reviews I felt like sharing at the time. Who's to say what will become of the material I've posted here, but it's often been fun to dust off the archives and see just where my head was at any point in time.
You could say therefore that the impending 20,000th hit gives me pause to review such accomplishments, or at least to reflect on the haphazard way I've made it this far and the multitude of ways I've mystified myself in the process.
For my way of thinking, females are naturally predisposed to assessing their accomplishments by stacking themselves up against their competition - namely, other women. I don't think it matters whether we know them or not. Speaking for myself, I can't resist feeling down at myself, even if just for a nanosecond, if I see someone thinner than me, richer than me, or with whiter teeth than me. And I know that these 'accomplishments' are all on the surface and the person I so fleetingly admire may well be a certifiable lunatic on day release, with no other redeeming qualities to recommend her. But of course it doesn't stop me from envying her and wondering why I can't get myself together just-so.
And so I try to look deeper at what constitutes an accomplished woman, and I like to turn to the list that my friend Jane Austen came up with when she wrote "Pride and Prejudice". While painting tables, covering screens, and netting purses are not necessarily the requisite skills they once were, Jane does suggest that an interest in the more esoteric pursuits of music, singing, and modern languages make for a well-rounded and interesting person; what Jane, and her male characters, agree to consider under the banner of 'accomplished'.
What I find encouraging about these perhaps more 'cultural' accomplishments is that rely less on actual talent and more on a good sense of humour and a general acceptance that it's okay to fake it (phew). My happiness index is never going to plummet because I am a crap dancer or below-par singer. And so what if I snort when I laugh or make up in-jokes with my friends - because all those things make me happy and make my friends happy. Jane Austen must have had a good sense of humour, because when I discovered this list of accomplishments, I felt she was giving me a lot of wiggle room to find the way to a happy and accomplished life. And surely that's always a good thing - in any book?