Girls Night In

the blog for single, over-40 women

How Do You Measure Success?

on July 2, 2015
Image courtesy of cuteimage/freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of cuteimage/freedigitalphotos.net

What is success?

Between my planned return to South Africa and my body’s signs of aging, this question has been looming large in my mind. Is my return to South Africa and pursuit of a doctorate a grasping after the wind of “success”? My body’s rude reminder that I am moving into the Autumn of my life makes me wonder what happened to my Spring and my Summer. Did I squander my best years? Has my season for ripeness, vitality and success come and gone?

Everywhere around me the images of success dangle before my eyes. To not possess the images of success raise the question of whether or not I have attained it.

I did not earn vast sums of money. I did not own any property worth talking about. I did not lead anything or found anything or invent anything. I did not get married. I did not have children.

What do these un-done things add up to if not failure?  Especially when these were all things I thought I would do as I dreamed, in early days, of my future.

Have I failed?

Perhaps. But perhaps all those things I dreamed about doing are merely signs of the success I dreamed of, and perhaps they do not constitute success itself. Marriage might just be a sign of my having a heart that embraces giving, receiving and persevering in love, for example. So it is not marriage but loving deeply that I really aspired to.

I have loved and been loved in return. I have earned honestly and given freely. I have not founded or invented, but I have participated, encouraged and supported. Though there is room for more love, money and inventiveness in my life, I count the life I am living, the journey I am on, to be successful.

In the days to come, I will need to remember that taking a journey and inviting encounters with different people, strange circumstances, troubles, detours and unanticipated delights is far more valuable in a life than mere arrival at a destination. This kind of journey often means one arrives at the desired destination much slower. Or sometimes the journey leads to a different destination entirely. And being in the unplanned place is success.

How do you measure success?

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2 responses to “How Do You Measure Success?

  1. Carole Brown says:

    Wonderful post, and truly spoken. Success is what you realize it to be. And it sounds like you’ve had a greatly successful one. Loved the post, and tweeting.

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