Join The Conversation, Get Inspired, & Win Mother Sugar’s First Giveaway

To connect. That was our goal when we started Mother Sugar eight months ago. We wanted to share thoughts about the lives we were living, we wanted to try and express them poignantly. And we wanted to learn from one another.

We’ve been thrilled with the results so far. We’ve been able to connect with each other (and with ourselves) more thoughtfully than I think any of us expected. But what we underestimated was how we were able to connect with new people too. How hearing from you has made this whole endeavor even more worthwhile.

If anything, we’d like to hear more.

So, we are introducing a new monthly feature.

Like any good host, we want to make sure everyone who comes here feels comfortable, opens up, wants to be here. Mother Sugar is meant to be a conversation. It’s our role to bring out the shy guest hiding behind her teacup. Of course, it’s tricky on a blog to have a real live conversation, but the exchange between you and us is what makes Mother Sugar so- oh, let’s say it– sweet.

Here’s how (we hope) it works: Every month, we’d like to pose a question, one we hope you find intriguing enough to answer. We invite you to answer that question as lengthily or briefly as you’d like in the Comments section. Our aim to collect a great collage of answers. At the end of the month, we’d love to reflect back what we’ve learned from you, what’s inspired us, how you’ve shifted our perspective. We’ll give credit, of course, perhaps reblog you. And then throw another question into the fray.

Why should you contribute? Well, (here is where I brazenly brandish my bullet points!)

  • We hope the questions will be compelling enough that you want to answer them, that you can’t help but go down that rabbit hole. Even if only to connect better with yourself.
  • Maybe you’re in search of some writing inspiration; we think you’ll find these questions a great basis for a post of your own on your own blog. That would be amazing. You could post a comment with us and then link it to your blog post; we won’t mind! We promise to read it. In fact, how great would it be for our conversation to leap over into your own blog, to your own readers? How about that for connection! (If you choose this route, we’d just be grateful if you could link back to us, so we know to find you).
  • Who knows? Putting in your own two cents might just afford you a few new readers of your own!

To sweeten the deal, for the first month of our new feature, we’re doing our first giveaway. Contribute a response to our question of the month, and we’ll enter you into a draw for a bounty of chocolate. Oh, not just any chocolate, darling. It’s Mother Sugar after all. Belgian Chocolate. And not even some easily accessed Belgian chocolate you can pick up at the mall, no, the delectable confection that Belgians like to keep for themselves at home, in their small land, to be feasted on at will. We’ll even let you pick what kind you want: dark, pure, with nuts, milk, with little bits of cookie. Seriously, this chocolate is worth a little introspection, a bit of show and tell! In fact, here’s a video to show you how sexy this chocolate is-

Part of the belgian chocolate ad. This could be yours…

Of course our regular contributors to Mother Sugar are ineligible for the giveaway, even though we’ll be answering the question too.

We have yet to work out a good title for our new feature. For now, let’s call it: The Salon: What You Know For Sure, which for anyone who’s ever paid attention to Oprah knows, is a kind of a tribute to her. This is fitting because that’s where this idea comes from. You see, recently I found and reread an article I’d clipped out of her magazine. A woman had hosted a salon with a group of diverse forty something women and posed to them a number of questions, mostly having to do with their past and where that put them today. She did it because she wanted to know more about their journeys, as a way to understand what was next. What might happen next. It was a great read. It made me think about my own life, how far it’s come, where it’s going next. Which is exactly what Mother Sugar does too.

We hope our salon, made of younger and older women, men and women, namely, YOU, will be equally insightful. We’ll use some of OW’s questions, add a few of our own. We hope you’ll join in.  There is chocolate at stake!

There’s lots more where this came from…

As Oprah said, the power of the question is in the power of the answers shared.

So without further ado, may we kindly ask:

When you were 18, what did you imagine your future would look like? How close does your life today come to that vision?

We can’t wait to hear from you.

19 thoughts on “Join The Conversation, Get Inspired, & Win Mother Sugar’s First Giveaway

  1. When I was 18 I was scared. I find it hard to determine whether I was more scared then than I am now ten years later. I didn’t have a clue as to what I wanted besides the chance to grow up. I wanted to be an adult and I’m still struggling with the concept that I now am. I figured by my 10 year high school reunion I would be educated, gainfully employed, well travelled, and in love (possibly even married). I would have my ducks in a row, I would be fashionable, fit, well read, and have wonderful friends who I regularly socialized with. I would live somewhere else… I might even have started a family.

    I’m not quite there yet. Will I ever be? I’m not so sure. I still hold out hope that I might one day have it all… but until then I’m learning to live with, and appreciate the things that I do have, the things that I got half right, the mistakes I’ve made, the lessons I’ve learned, the wrinkles I’ve earned, the friends and family I have and love, the beautiful woman staring back at me in the mirror (even on the days I can’t look her in the eye).

    My cup is full. I will continue to drink from it then fill it back up again. In 10 years from now I will look back and have a completely different perspective once again. That’s what growing up is all about.

  2. I shudder to recall those carefree days of 18, when I was ready to take on the world and so ridiculously sure of myself. I felt like I was on top of the world. I was about to move away to my dream university and was falling for a man so completely wrong for me it would take years to realize just how silly I was. I knew exactly what I wanted to be (writer/mother/traveler) and was completely sure I would accomplish everything I set my heart on.

    Now, I am gainfully employed but still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I’m not earning a living as a writer. I am a proud single auntie and not mother. And I’m happier than I’ve ever been.

    It takes those years of knowing exactly what you want to appreciate the magic that comes with an uncertain future. Sure, there are times when I wish I knew what was in store for me, but part of the fun is figuring it out as I go. I don’t know what’s beyond the next moment and that’s kind of exciting. Do I ever wish I could go back to those days of 18 where my only care in the world was… wait, I didn’t have a care in the world. Regardless, I am glad my life didn’t turn out the way I had expected it to, not because it wouldn’t have been great, but because it would have been too easy. Life is not supposed to be easy and the older I get, the more I accept and appreciate that.

  3. When I was 18 I was clueless. I was going to university to study something I wasn’t even interested in. Why? Because I was living according to everyone else’s expectations.
    I had visions of a high powered job, equally high powered husband, a big house, a few kids and a money tree in the backyard. These are the things I thought were expected of me for my life. I had absolutely no idea what I wanted for me.

    Well, I got close-ish to making this happen. And by close-ish I mean I had a bit of a career that paid really well, a long term boyfriend who ticked off all the boxes (at the time), a beautiful house and a cute puppy.

    And then one day in a rare moment of clarity I realised that I was terribly unhappy. I felt the emptiness at a soul level. So I took a break. A permanent break. From the career, the boyfriend, the house and the puppy.

    I spent 2 years travelling to places I never imagined possible. I worked and lived in a country where English wasn’t even spoken as a second language. I challenged myself, learnt to live again and found happiness in the process.

    I’m currently at a crossroads and am not sure whereto or what next but the most important thing is that I’m happy.
    My vision for myself at 18 is so far off from where I’m at now and the thing is, I couldn’t be happier.

  4. Even though I’m Swiss, I must confess Côte d’or milk chocolate is one of my favourites 🙂 Great idea to start a conversation with us!

    At 18, I had a precise vision of the life I wanted to have by 30: married at 28, pregnant before 30, with a nice house and an exciting career. I thought I would live in France after traveling the world for a while before then. In short, I thought that by 30, I would have figured out my life.

    Now I’m 29 and my life is not that simple… I’m engaged to a New Zealander and about to move to New Zealand. I’m not pregnant though, and while I still know that I want kids, I don’t feel ready for it yet. I’m still struggling to find my direction in life so there’s no real career to speak of and definitely no house yet.

    However, I’m happy to be where I am today. The life I created for myself holds far more uncertainty than what I had planned at 18, but it’s also a bigger, richer, and more exciting life.

  5. When I was 18 I found it hard to imagine what I wanted for the future. I was happy with what I had at the time – my boyfriend since 15 years old, my friends, family – but knew that when I left for university the following summer I would be leaving all that behind and starting out in a new place by myself…and if I am honest that prospect of starting out completely fresh was exciting, and really what I wanted at the time, but it did mean that looking ahead to where I am now at 31 was tough – how could know that when I was not fixing on a particular plan for the summer after next?

    I knew I wanted new challenges and that I wanted love in my life (though not with the same guy). but even leaving it that open back then, right now at 29 weeks pregnant with our first child my husband and I are facing incredible amounts of new experiences, challenges and thrills together, it turns out the vision I had looks pretty accurate.

  6. 18, 18, 18. I was studying art history and had a vague idea I might want to be a photographer. It wasn’t a passion, it was just something that sounded interesting and I really had no idea what I wanted to do, so I latched onto that.

    What I really wanted was some way to be able to spend my life travelling, wandering, doing what it took to make that happen.

    I ended up dropping out of university, and I actually managed to travel for a lot of my twenties. I moved to Ireland when I was 20 and lived there for two years. I moved to Mexico at 23 and lived there for 3 years. At 26, I moved to Australia and lived there for a year.

    Mostly I waitressed, but really I did whatever jobs were there to support myself. Eventually I got tired of crappy jobs, came home, went back to school and became an accountant. It’s not a glamourous travel job, but I’m really good at it, which gives me satisfaction. It also makes enough money that I am able to go somewhere exotic at least one a year.

    I might not do it forever. Sometimes the more artistic gypsy life calls me back strongly. Sometimes I want to do something more artistic or creative. We’ll see. I’ve actually come to the conclusion that long-term planning (besides retirement savings and life insurance) is a bit of a fool’s game. Things happen that you never would have thought to expect and sometimes they take you in directions you never would have dreamed. And to be honest, I kind of like that uncertainty.

  7. When I was 18, I distinctly remember feeling the urge to be a grown up but having no idea how to achieve that. I was still living at home, having chosen a local university because of my fear of being too far away from my family, and I’d recently suffered my biggest failing to date (starting at a uni further away and deciding to come home, much to my mother’s disapproval). I didn’t think I’d ever be an adventurer, taking chances, making my own path (I also really wanted to have my first kiss — that would have to wait until 21!) but I wish I’d just trusted myself.

    Now, I live over 500 miles away from my family, I support myself, I’m in love and have been for almost four years, and I took that leap. I never thought I’d be taking the leap with someone else, but it makes sense — I think I always needed someone else to help me through it, or at least give me that little push. I never thought I’d be here, and I love that. It gives me faith that my future from now can continue to surprise me — as long as I make decisions that are right for me and keep enjoying life, trying new things and not letting fear stand in my way, I know I can do anything.

    Thanks, Mother Sugar, for such a great idea — I look forward to reading everyone else’s stories (what a fantastic question!) 🙂 x

  8. What a great idea! It’s so wonderful to read how other people answered the question – an insight into the journeys we have all taken to get where we are today. Kudos to you all for starting this great project!

    For myself, on a personal level I am probably pretty in line with where I thought I would be. Married? Check. Kids? Check? House, car, cat? Check, check, check. On a professional level though I think I am far from where I thought I would be. I think the 18 year old me would be disappointed that I have stayed so long in a job that does not inspire or fulfill me. Of course, the 18 year old me never had to make a mortgage payment or write a cheque for daycare so it’s a constant argument.

    However, even taking that into account I can’t help but feel that I have let down my younger self somehow, that I have put too many of her dreams in a drawer, promising to come back to them later. Maybe it’s time for “later” to be “now.”

  9. I know I can’t win the chocolate but I just wanted to add my story. I wish I could say that I had some vision for my future at 18, but I didn’t. At the time I really could only imagine being a dancer. I was doing my minor in dance (still an undeclared major) and I had a part time job dancing in children’s stage shows but I also knew that I wasn’t talented enough to pursue dancing professionally. I was young enough though that I was still holding on to the dream; besides, I had no real career ambitions at that age.

    I knew at some point I would be married and somewhere in the vague future I would have kids. I had actually met and was dating my husband by the time I was 18 and even then I knew I would marry him. I just couldn’t envision what that would look like down the road.

    My 18 year old self would be would be accepting of who I’ve become except for the part where I have completely given up dancing. I was so in love with dance, 18 year old Flapper Pie would be so sad to see 35 year old Flapper Pie who can barely touch her toes. I could have never articulated what I envisioned for my future at 18 and yet, my life now is somehow exactly where I thought I would end up.

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  11. At 18 I had a very narrow vision of what my life could be. I struggled with an anxiety disorder that kept me from dreaming big or making long term plans. I wasn’t sure if I would go to college, but I knew that I should. I simply figured that I would get married and have babies–that’s what everyone else in my family had done. I knew that I could live that life easily, but something inside of me always wanted a different life and I somehow knew that that path would not satisfy me. So I worked for a year before forcing myself to go to college.

    Now I am 28, married, with no kids yet. We have our degrees, a house, fulfilling jobs, and we’ve done a lot of traveling. Of course, we have also had our fair share of struggles and trials. It’s interesting to think that I could have gone in either direction at 18, but I ended up here! I am happy and grateful that I am able to have adventures, get to know myself and my husband before having kids. I am also thankful that I didn’t let my anxiety and depression keep me from having a full life.

    What a thought provoking conversation! Thanks for starting it!

    XO, Tobi

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  14. Such an interesting question. I remember being 18, driving home from a summer job at an amusement park, seeing the green prairies and giant blue sky in my rear-view mirror and feeling “full” – of possibility, of excitement that my life would finally be my own. Trying to see myself at this age was almost impossible, because I only knew this age meant I’d be “older”, but having no idea what that might feel like.

    I thought I’d be married (check) maybe with children (no check). I thought I’d have a career as an actor and possibly as a playwright and theatre director (check, not really, check). Although I no longer do any of those career things anymore, which would have been inconceivable to me then.

    I thought I would be wise (getting there, but can’t really check it off I don’t think). I thought I’d be a good person (work in progress, but certainly more good than bad). I thought I’d have a sense of being grounded in myself and an appreciation of life well-lived (getting there and check).

    I also probably thought that I’d have everything figured out by now, which I don’t. I don’t really expect ever to have it all figured out, though I do feel that I’ve learned a lot and am learning more every day.

    Life is richer and messier than I thought it would be at eighteen. It’s more full of questions and unexpected twists and turns. It’s also more difficult in many ways. I understand now why the adults around me seemed perplexed or sometimes beaten down by life in a way that I couldn’t have appreciated then. I also appreciate the glorious little moments, friendships and family much more.

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