My definition of success often changes, on some level or another, as goals shift and take new form, but my core values and thoughts on the subject have never changed. Though I’ve sought success through academia, awards, accolades, and throughout my professional career, true success to me is the happiness that I’ve found in everything that I’ve done.
And, I’m not talking about happiness in the way that the word is just lamely thrown around these days, in that, “Oh, I’m so happy with my myself even though I have to lie to myself everyday saying that I’m happy over and over because I want more and have to compare myself to everyone around me, life’s a competition, but you need to think that I’m happy so I’m winning” sort of way. I know you know what I mean; we see that person all too often.
I’m talking about the kind of happiness that comes with the overall satisfaction with one’s self, one’s actions, one’s honesty, one’s humility, one’s ability to love, show compassion and see their true self with clarity and a most content feeling of just being in your own skin, on your own timeline and without a need for constant affirmation, adoration, approval, and applause for simply “doing” what may be perceived to be “successful.” Damn, that’s a long sentence…but it’s a long thought that I wouldn’t dare interrupt. Just writing it I needed to take a breath. Now, I’m getting fired up! Ok…breathe…proceed.
…people…If I did the whole SMH thing, here’s where I would insert it…and apparently I do, so…
Success is not something that can be measured, by any standard or timeline, no matter how many times “They” may tell you that you should have hit X, Y, and Z on “The Timeline” by a certain point. You know the one; it often reads: Degree. Check. Job. Check. Insurance. Check. Marriage. Check. House. Check. Baby. Check. Divorce #1. Check. Retirement Plan. Check. Midlife Crisis. Check. Purchase my grave while there’s a BOGO sale. Check. Etc., etc.
None of that stuff matters nor does it define success.
Success can only be measured on your own terms. Who cares about Their timeline? Though I’m the first to admit that I get down on myself from time to time about not being further along in one aspect of life or another, I always try to reign those totally absurd feelings back in and find success in every day. Whether I find success in my relationship and the happiness that it brings me, or in going a day without being attacked by my crazy cat, or simply making the time to do something that I enjoy at the end of the day – those are the things that really matter. Success is your happiness found in the moments of everyday life.
I don’t care how sappy this sounds. I’ve lived enough and learned enough hard lessons to know what I’m talking about. And let me tell you, when you’re looking up from a gurney in an ambulance, not knowing whether or not you’re seeing things for the last time, you quickly take stock in the things that matter most and see a bit more clearly.
Find your happiness in every single day, and push aside that monotonous Timeline and those not-so-suppressed feelings of, “OMG! They’re judging me!” You’re never going to find or feel success with that mindset or fear of constant judgment. It’s not about, “Oh, well, I did this, this, this, this and this, Mommy. Now you love me most, right? Do I get a reward? Do I get a new iPhone??” That’s BS! Life is not about collecting prizes or people – I’m looking at you Millennials!! (Ok, fine…yes, I fall in the Millennial category, but don’t get me started!) Your life is the prize! Don’t forget that.
Today, maybe I can find a little success in this post through the satisfaction of sharing a smile or a laugh with you all through this article in The New Yorker. Either way, I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and remembers to just smile, today 🙂