Living with Tough Decisions: Angie Haggstrom Interview

Angie Haggstrom is another one of my Twitter-buddies. Although she lives in Saskatchewan and I’m in Spain, because she never sleeps, we cross paths on Twitter on a daily basis. In asking Angie to do a Someday Interview, I wanted to find out just how true the not-sleeping thing was and what drove her to be so productive so late into the night.

Angie HaggstromWho: Angie Haggstrom of Freedom Freelance
Angie is a mom, wife, writer, and general ‘jack of all trades’ who enjoys seeing others succeed, loves a challenge, and has an insatiable hunger for experiencing all life has to offer.

Name one moment in your life when you threw a pity party for yourself and the reasons why you felt you weren’t able to achieve your goals. Were you feeling stuck? Had you felt you failed? What wasn’t working in your life?
I started playing music at 11. From the moment my hand touched those keys, and the first sound came out, that was all I thought about. I lived, ate, and breathed music. It was nothing for me to practice 12 hours or more on a Saturday.

When I was 16, my life changed. I met and fell in love with my first husband. Things were rocky from the start, but when it was time for me to go to university, things became increasingly worse.

There was no way I could perform, attend all my classes, do the homework, and still have time for a working husband. I tried and things went horribly wrong. To complicate matters, I’d had a number of miscarriages. Life was spinning out of control and I couldn’t keep up.

After a lot of soul searching, there was no other solution. I quit school and moved back with my husband. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make.

In the eight years before that decision, music was all there was besides my family. It was who I was. When I walked out of the dean’s office that day, I put that instrument down. I couldn’t pick it back up again. Every time I thought about doing it, I just didn’t have the heart to try.

Just looking at it sitting in the corner made me face a whole lot of things I just didn’t want to face.

To me, it was a symbol of the ultimate failure. I felt like even though I was doing the right thing, I had failed myself, let down the people back home who had supported me, and let down the university who had given me a full scholarship. For someone with a terrible fear of failure, this was very real for a very long time.

I basically did nothing for a very long time after that. Oh, I went through my daily routine, but beyond the basic stuff, I did nothing of substance. At least not for me.

Even our lowest moments fulfill a need in us or express our desires. When you threw yourself that pity party, what did you hope to gain? What need did you fulfill?
I guess there were many reasons behind it. I’ve always worked and pushed for what I want and I could never accept anything less than what I deem as 100% success. I think I needed that time to show myself that the world doesn’t end if I screw up. There is life beyond what I see, and sometimes, the things I see as a failure are better than what I had originally planned.

I helped at home and worked several jobs while attending high school. When I went to university, I would have school at 7am, rehearsals in the afternoon and evening, homework that often went until 5am or later. Plus, I had lessons in a city 3 hours away with no car to get there adding to the insanity. By the time I quit, I think I mentally, emotionally, and physically needed to recharge. For once, it felt nice not having to worry about anything.

Finally, it allowed me the time and ‘freedom’ (for lack of a better word) to explore more things and take a closer look at who I was and what really mattered in life. It felt like that was the final step I needed to take in order to feel comfortable in my own skin.

Tell us what you did to break up the pity party. What actions did you decide to take? Did someone help you buoy your spirits? Push you along?
I moved on. It sounds easier than it was for me, but life changed and I forced myself to move on with it.

After I quit, I gave birth to a son and got a divorce a short time later. I had no home, money, or food, so there was no time for ‘pity parties’. I learned to put one foot in front of the other and do what I needed to for my son. I took a job at a big box store during the day (think yellow smiley faces and falling prices), cooked at a truck stop at night, and deejayed at a club on my nights off.

Money was tight and my son needed a mother. That was all that mattered at that point and the only thing that kept me going lots of times.

It wasn’t until I met my second husband that life really slowed down enough for me to worry about things again. By that time, music wasn’t as important as it had been. We fell in love, and with him standing beside me, we began to make different goals and look forward to the future.

Can you look back on that moment and tell us how you felt when you did decide to take action? What results came about from your decision to take charge and move on?
For me there really was no ‘moment’. It just sort of eased and disappeared. The thoughts are still there. I often wonder what life would have been like had I stayed with my music and ignored everything else. One thing I will tell you is that there is nothing more empowering in this world than for me to look at where I was in comparison to where I am now. Discovering what you are truly capable of is nothing short of an epiphany.

There are still moments when I ask myself what I’m doing and where I’m going. I still go through moods where I worry about failing and losing my purpose all over again. But, this is a positive thing for me.

I remember how quickly things can change and that unexpected bumps in the road are often better than I think. I have a husband and wonderful friends that I would go to the ends of the earth for. When things get bad, they are there for me. I’m not doing it on my own this time.

Everyone has a Someday problem hiding deep inside, even little ones. What variety of the Someday Syndrome do you currently harbor? What would you like to achieve but haven’t yet?
I want lots of things — a vacation, to move away from here, and I would like to retire, but all those things have to wait. They just aren’t an option right now. In all honesty, I just want to see things go well.

I want to see my son grow up happy and successful. I want to continue to build my business, and I just want to enjoy life with my hubby, kidlets, and friends. I would like to help others achieve their goals and avoid the same things I went through. It would make me perfectly happy if I could see others grow and achieve their dreams.

Examining your Someday Syndrome problem, what are you currently doing to resolve it and eliminate it from your life?
I’m working hard and enjoying life for what it is instead of what I would like it to be. All things will come, it’s just a matter of when. Hubby has agreed to go on a vacation if I can come up with the money for it, so these plans are underway. Not sure how long it will take me, but it is somewhere on the horizon.

I’m working, so I guess that’s what I’m doing to retire. As for moving, that just isn’t an option. Hubby’s job is here, my son is going to school, and moving away from here is going to require a large amount of money that we just don’t have.

As for the last one, I work on it every day by being a responsible member of society. I take an interest in what’s going on around me and genuinely care about the people I come into contact with. I do what I can do. No more, and no less.

Many people suffer the same problems you do. You’re not alone, and neither are they. What would you tell people in your situation right now to help them avoid what you’re going through?
Take one step at a time and recognize your limits for what they are. When things go wrong, always, always, always look for that silver lining. There is always one somewhere; you just have to find it. Who knows, it might be the only thing that keeps you going.

If you could ask for one thing, right now, to help you overcome your Someday Syndrome, what type of help would you ask for?
I thought about asking for a ‘do-over’. I’ve considered this a lot about it, but in reality, I wouldn’t change a thing because I wouldn’t have my son, and I wouldn’t be who I am today without it. I thought about asking to win the lottery, but I wouldn’t be happy with that either. I enjoy working for what I have because I need that sense of accomplishment as much if not more than achieving the goal.

Aside from maybe some guidance when I need it, I really couldn’t think of anything I could need or want aside from what I already have. Hard to please? Maybe. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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5 thoughts on “Living with Tough Decisions: Angie Haggstrom Interview

  1. Joely Black says:

    This was an absolute inspiration for me to read today. What an amazing life you’ve had. Thank you to Alex for interviewing you to share your story.

    Joely Black´s last blog post..Random miscellany: the problem with experts

  2. It sounds like in giving up music you were able to sing the song of your life, with all its varied harmonies.

    Pamir | Reiki Help Blog´s last blog post..The Sainthood Of Sequoias

  3. Kelly says:

    Alex, You do get the most wonderful interviewees!

    Angie,

    “I think I needed that time to show myself that the world doesn’t end if I screw up.”

    Ah, so true! I fall prey to that thinking once in a while, too, and that is a great reminder. I love that you’ve reshaped your world to be so rich, and that you’re still reaching for the stars—but not reaching alone. I really enjoyed reading this. Thanks!

    Regards,

    Kelly

    Kelly´s last blog post..MCE Round Table: The Contrarian Edition

  4. What a beautiful site you have, Alex. I’ve been exploring it, and need what is has to offer!

    Angie, it takes courage to turn around in the middle of a journey and begin again. You definitely have that!

    Karen

  5. Alex Fayle says:

    @Joely
    When I read Angie’s story, I just went “wow” – and knew that she’d inspire lots of people with what she had to say.

    @Pamir
    What a great way to think of it! Thanks for turning the story around to show another facet.

    @Kelly
    That’s one of the lines I have to pay more attention to myself. I tend to get over-critical of myself. 😉

    @Karen
    Glad you’ve been enjoying the site! And I agree that Angie had a lot of courage to make such a major change in her life like that.

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