Tuesday, 25 June 2013

What does success mean to you?

That's an interesting question, isn't it? I've been thinking about it a lot lately. When will I feel like I've "made it?" The interesting thing is that the answer can be quite different from person to person - my idea of success could be very different from yours. For some people success is measured only in dollars. I've witnessed firsthand how some people who have them (dollars) automatically assume that people who don't have them are unsuccessful. But I've also witnessed firsthand that there are people who live a very modest life in terms of material things and income, but still feel successful and happy and enjoy their lives.

So what is the measure of success? Just thinking out loud here, really. I guess the conclusion I've come to is that there simply is no universal definition for "successful," unless maybe if it read "content with one's current state of being, lifestyle, and place in the world." Even then, I know people who consider themselves successful, but still seem discontent. So maybe for them, contentment isn't a requirement.

It's interesting to ask yourself what success means to you. What do you think it would take for you to feel that way? For me, I think I'd need a few things to feel like I've really made it in life:

1) The ability to travel and see the world. At the very least, one big trip per year. Preferably a few. I have pretty intense wanderlust that's only getting worse as I get older. A life without really seeing this incredible world we live in seems so sad to me.

2) The ability to spend extra money on the very best food for myself and my family, both with groceries and dining out. It's frustrating to go to something like a farmer's market or Whole Foods and know you can't afford to shop there more than maybe once every other month, for just a few items. Success, to me, would mean shopping in those places without guilt, buying mostly organic, and indulging my inner foodie. Bottom line: FOOD IS IMPORTANT TO ME, and presentation is too. Sorry, not sorry.

3) Meaningful, functional relationships and the love and even admiration of the people closest to me in life. If my personal life is in shambles and I feel people I love think ill of me, what would the point of all the rest be?

4) The ability to be generous with gifts. Almost nothing makes me happier than giving someone a really nice gift I know they'll love, or taking a friend out to dinner when she's had a rough week, or donating to a cause I really believe in. When it stops feeling like a pinch whenever I give generously, I'll feel like I've made it.

5) Personal fulfillment through creativity. In order to be successful, I think I'll always need an outlet for creativity and a little place in the world where I feel like I'm doing a good job and touching other people with my work. Maybe this will always be writing and photography, or maybe it won't be. Maybe someday I'll get really freaking into pottery making or interpretive dance or something. But probably not.

6) A feeling of security. This is really important to me. I don't need a huge house or pimped out car or a huge bank account, but I do want to not struggle. To have enough, and feel secure. To enjoy the money my husband and I make, and just not really have to think too much about it all. To provide for our family, to have some left over and set aside for a rainy day, and to live life to its fullest.

And when (WHEN!) I have all of those six things at once, I'll pat myself and Matthew on the back and say, "hey lookie here, we done made it in life!" Until that time, though, I can damn well still be happy ... and I fully intend to be. :)

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