It's official. I'm an adult now. I've been looking at college savings plans for my kids and this week I voluntarily went to a...
Define Your Own Unique and Genuine Success
It's official. I'm an adult now. I've been looking at college savings plans for my kids and this week I voluntarily went to a meeting about my 401k. It's time to make decisions about how to invest my money for RETIREMENT? Seriously, I'm not that old, but I have to worry about that now? UGH!
Fuck being an adult. I feel like I'm just now realizing that I'm all grown up. At this point in life, we're expected to already be well established in our chosen career, be making lots of money, buying a house, buying multiple new cars, investing wisely, getting married, having kids, taking expensive vacations, the American Dream baby! This is it, we're all there right?! Yeah me neither. You know why? Because the American Dream is bullshit. Because success isn't something defined by society or anyone but yourself. Success is what you decide it should be.
And success for me? You guessed it. It has NOTHING to do with money. Yes I have a good career. But I don't own a home. We only own 1 used car. At the moment, I have 0 dollars invested in anything. I don't own designer clothes or purses or anything like that. I shop at Goodwill. No joke. I don't give a single fuck about financial position or social status or any of that crap. Success in my mind is defined by how I feel about my life. What am I accomplishing? What progress have I made with my own issues? What am I giving back to the world? These define my success.
So do I feel successful? Eh, sometimes. Not like I've completed my life's goals or anything. I have lots of goals about lots of things and it will take my whole lifetime to complete them all, I'm sure. But I feel good about the progress I've made, the things I have accomplished, and where I'm at. Sometimes I don't, sometimes I'm downright depressed if I focus too much on what's ahead. But you know what helps me get over that? My children.
From the American Dream's standpoint, I'm nothing special. But when I look at my children, I think wow, I'm not a waste of space at all. Look at these kids! They are beautiful, intelligent, mostly polite, little human beings with good hearts! They talk to people. They care about people. They want to be friends with everyone. They aren't afraid to dance and sing. They aren't afraid to be goofy and laugh inappropriately loud at fart jokes. They give us hugs and kisses and say awww when they see a puppy or a baby. They say "I love you" to us everyday.
I'm not taking credit for all of their wonderful qualities. Who can say how much of these things are just their own personality and how much is what we taught them? No one knows. But I know that they came from me and Brian. I know that Brian is unique in his dad skills. And while he won't admit it, he works really hard and does an amazing job at raising these crazy little kids. I know that I try my hardest to do the best I can for them. And when they kiss me on the cheek and Sebastian asks me how my day was or Oscar gets excited to see me and yells "Mommy!" my heart sings. And I experience true happiness in those moments because I know that I am a successful human being. Even if I do nothing else worthwhile in my life, at least I helped create these amazing people.
That is not my intention of course, I intend to continue doing my best so that they continue learning all they can from me. But they are still my reminder to define my own success. To not get wrapped up in what the world is trying to tell me I need to do to be successful. Because that is what I want them to do for themselves. The best way to help our kids achieve their dreams would be to give them an example of how that's possible. What better example then their own parents?
Success should be a personal thing. It should be unique to your dreams and goals. It should be raw, real, genuine. It takes a lot of effort to come up with our own definition of success, create goals for ourselves, figure out our dreams, and plans for accomplishing them. Following along with society's definition is the easy way out. Anyone can put on a suit and go kiss some corporate ass if they want to achieve the stereotypical definition of success. But there's nothing genuine about that. And would you really be happy even if you had all that? Sounds like a life lived on the surface to me. I want to dive into the deep end of life and find all the hidden treasures. I'm not interested in staying in the shallow end.
So I'm going to keep defining my own success. Living life on my own terms. Setting goals that are MINE and no one else's. Figure out my dreams and how to achieve them. It won't be easy but at least it will be real.
What about you? How do you define success?
About author: Melanie
Mother, wife, web developer, writer. I blog about my life as an anorexia survivor, depression battler, being a mother to 2 boys, 1 with NF1, living healthy, and much more!