Hi, BlogHers! How excited are you to be in NYC and surrounded by all this phenomenal blogging talent? Well, we wanted to give you guys a chance to meet your fellow BlogHers here. Share a few Life Lessons with women who are taking time out this week to broaden their horizons and see what’s new in the blogher-sphere. So take it away, Kelli Williams! And thanks for submitting your Life Lessons. And remember you can email us to submit yours.
Are you happy at the moment?
Yes. I believe that is one of the reasons for my happiness: saying yes. However, there is also quite a bit of power in the word no as well. I do my best to embrace opportunities when I can. But when I can’t… no may unveil a beautiful path to sanity! Is life perfect? Hell no! But within those difficult moments are little sparks of humor and greatness that I do my best to focus on… and find joy writing about!
If you could go back and say anything to your 16 year old self now – what would it be?
During the age of 16, I went from playing the field to getting knee-deep into my first deeply heavy relationship. But, I was a pretty “good girl” considering the lack of support, judgment and abusive words I’d receive from my very Catholic mother. I suppose I’d say something like…
Dear 16-yo Kelli,
Despite what your mother tells you, you are an amazing individual. Ignore the judgmental, negative people you may think are your friends who don’t realize just how special you are. They do not deserve your friendship. Nobody’s perfect, and no one expects perfection (but when/if they do: run like hell!!) Grudges are pointless. Let them go. Keep singing. Uncover a path to continue your passion for music in college… away from home. Connect with mentors who respect you about ways to earn scholarships, because your mother will not contribute a dime to a college more than 10 minutes away from her. Focus on finding your own path, free from your mother’s evil clutches of negativity. It can happen. It will happen. There is so much good out there, and you are one of many great people in this world — no really, you are! Believe that. Keep bringing the awesome, and know that even the bumpy paths you think you are on now can lead to incredible opportunities. Embrace those opportunities… and every moment you are given.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?
Life is precious, and out of our control. I lost my 9-month old niece earlier this year, due to 3 heart-defects and going into cardiac arrest, where she suffered massive brain damage. I am a DOER… I wanted to fix it!! And I couldn’t. My heart broke, and I suffered for months during her suffering, and after she had passed. Life is so fragile… and every single one of us are temporary residents on earth. I’m doing what I can to make the most of my time here with the people I love.
What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?
I’d like to take my writing & music-performance to the next level… and get paid for it. Maybe that’s a little greedy, but it’s the truth! If anyone tells you they aren’t looking to make more money, they are lying! Finances are a part of life, and I’d love to be able to contribute more than the pennies & elbow-grease I contribute to my family now. So, unless an opportunity will provide a ton of new connections that will lead to real, paying gigs, I’m starting to say no to the opportunities that may not be a good fit for me as a performer or writer, and focusing my energy on the gigs I can dive into, and fulfill me financially and emotionally.
What’s your secret to happiness?
Embracing every moment. Even the truly awful ones that require a little alcohol to uncover the humor within them. Life is a gift, but it goes by in the blink of an eye. If we’re not focusing on the moment, living that life to the fullest won’t be much fun.
What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?
Singing at 5p Saturday Mass once/month… which also means date night for the hubs & I! Let’s be honest here, I’m not the most religious person in the world, but I do value community. I adore my online community of beautiful & incredible supporters, but I also enjoy connecting with the community of a church I can sing at once/month. The double-bonus is that the hubs & I hire a sitter so he can sing/play guitar with me, and after church, we enjoy a date-night. This keeps our relationship a priority, helps nurture our passion for music, and gives the kids a break from Mom & Dad too! Investing in a good sitter has been such a positive thing for our entire family.
What’s your biggest regret?
I try not to have regrets in life… but if I had to choose, it’d be moving away from Tucson after only living there for 3 years. I was born & raised in Michigan, and then I got married just before I turned 21 and moved to Tucson with the hubs. It was scary & an eye opening experience. We loved it there, those 3 years solidified our relationship! But the travel back to MI for family events took a toll on our finances & our vacation-time… and the heat, my GOD, THE HEAT! As soon as an opportunity popped up to run back to Michigan, we snagged it. If we didn’t, our lives could’ve been drastically different, as we moved back mere months before 9/11. Thing is, the hubs & I did have incredible jobs that we were just sinking our teeth into. He was working for IBM, I was working in the music industry. It’s a big “what if” I occasionally struggle with, but have learned that the path I’m on is a good one, and I’m embracing it.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kid(s)?
To find humor & positivity throughout all the craptastic moments life hands us. Not every moment may be filled with laughter, but laughter is a powerful way to cope.
What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?
Lack of focus. Committing to doing more things than I can handle… and not doing any of them very well. I love to say YES when a new opportunity comes along. But I don’t always think about the big picture: how much time, money & work is involved. I love to be wanted. I love to be loved. But I need to love myself and prioritize exactly what I can & can’t do, and accept it.
Aside from motherhood and marriage what are you most proud of in your life?
I dream big, but this year, I learned that even the biggest dreams can be achieved, even if they don’t happen the way you expect them to. A few months ago, I dusted off my bass & vocal chords & started performing with my husband again. Singing takes me to a place within my soul I haven’t found doing anything else. It’s a talent I don’t take for granted, and hope to continue to grow as an a musician on this familiar, yet new journey. I won’t be touring arenas anytime soon, but that’s ok. I’m making the most of my love of music by working hard, but I have 2 kids that need to be just as big of a priority as my passion for music. The balancing act of motherhood should be an Olympic event.
When were you happiest?
After I gave birth to my 2nd child, I felt an overwhelming amount of joy that has only grown over the last 4 years. After struggling with my 1st child, giving birth to an “easy” baby felt like such a gift. Everything seemed clearer, I felt more confident, not only as a mother, but as a person. There have been a few major ups & downs since I gave birth to my 2nd daughter over 4 years ago, but I feel I deal with them better. My 30s have been considerably happier than any other time in my life.
What ten words best describe you?
Passionate, clever, open, silly, dreamer, curious, vocal, devoted, entertainer and authentic.
Kelli Williams is a happily married 30-something mother of 4 & 7 year old daughters residing in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Kelli writes at Momma Needs a Beer where she discusses embracing every moment life has to offer — especially those moments that require a little alcohol to uncover the humor within them. When Kelli isn’t writing, singing, volunteering at her daughters’ school or enjoying Michigan Craft Beer, you can find her relaxing at her *gasp* wi-fi-free family cottage on Lake Michigan… with a cooler full of MI beer on the beach. You can also follow her tweets on twitter at @mommaneedsbeer.