Monday, May 30, 2011

Success

"What do you want to be when you grow up?"

 Remember those questions as a youngster?  My answers varied with my age and changed from a horse jockey, veterinarian, horse trainer, computer programmer, teacher, actuary, psychologist, and back to teacher.  Most all of my ideas based my "success" on wins or money, or both.  My personal gauge for success or failure fluctuated at the money in the bank, or lines in the newspaper.   Probably no different than many other teenagers, and so I always answered that question based on attaining my inner view of what would make me "successful".  No one answers the "What do you want to be when you grow up?" question with an idea of unsuccessful.

The journey to reality happened as I lived "life", and not necessarily my mythical expectations.  So many things that I thought were "easy", turned out to be what really means success, and I realized some of the other worldly measurements really didn't mean that much.

I naively thought that marriage would be easy if you truly loved someone.  I learned that even when you truly love someone, they can still hurt you.  I've survived divorce, and realize that an anniversary, no matter what the number, is success. 


I believed that labor was the most difficult part of being a mom.  I later understood, that success is potty training, hearing a thank you, the honor roll. Difficult is teething, the first day of school, and later the misunderstood hormones of a teenager.



I thought that joy came from money and a prestigious job.  I later learned that money doesn't buy appreciation or satisfaction at the end of the day for me.  As a teacher, success is a high school senior who passes their exit exam when they have never passed before.  My bank account never fluctuates when that happens, nor does the newspaper feature a story.  No wait, the newspaper does report on the whole school, especially if the scores go down, but it is not about me anymore.

Now I believe success is finding joy every single day, no matter how small.  It comes from within me, and not directed by someone else, and I strive to not allow anyone to steal that joy.  Success is looking into my eyes in the mirror and liking what I see, aside from the crows feet.  Success is those closest too me know that I love them unconditionally, and friends knowing who to call in times of need. Success is a smile and laughter.



I've learned that my ideas of success are never static, so even as I write this they continue to evolve as do I. And for that I'm grateful, because this journey is so much more exciting than I ever envisioned.  The following is a poem that is framed on my desk.  I give a card sized version of it to my seniors. 

“Success”
Inaccurately attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson

To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.

17 comments:

  1. 'Success is a smile and laughter.' - I love that line. I think we could be moire successful as human beings if there was a lot more smiling and laughter!

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  2. This is awesome. I could remember always changing what I wanted to do. I felt I had a knack for a little bit of everything.

    I have majored in Communications even though that's not what I want. The truth is, I don't know what I want. I still feel successful. I can ramble a bit. Great post.

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  3. Loved it! It's always wonderful to know you can count your blessings.

    -Katie
    www.jadelafemme.com

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  4. That is so true--life changes and so do we as do our perceptions of what it means to have a successful life!

    Beautiful blog!

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  5. I enjoyed everything you wrote! I've seen the poem before and love it.
    "To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.This is to have succeeded"
    I couldn't agree more!

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  6. When you wrote, "Now I believe success is finding joy every single day, no matter how small." I had to smile. Thank you...this was such a wonderful post! Cheers, Jenn.

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  7. This was all so wonderful, but this paragraph, especially, spoke to me:

    "Now I believe success is finding joy every single day, no matter how small. It comes from within me, and not directed by someone else, and I strive to not allow anyone to steal that joy. Success is looking into my eyes in the mirror and liking what I see, aside from the crows feet. Success is those closest too me know that I love them unconditionally, and friends knowing who to call in times of need. Success is a smile and laughter."

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  8. I couldn't find that poem attributed to anybody BUT Ralph Waldo Emerson. In any event I love the first line, because perhaps laughter (often and much) is a sure sign of success.
    ~Theresa Wiza~
    writingcreatively.org

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  9. Finding something to be thankful even on the darkest days, and a small piece of happiness even in the depths of despair is what I strive to do. I also try to find the humor in every situation because I would rather laugh than cry. I loved your post and smiled often throughout. Well done!!

    Kathy
    http://www.thetruckerswife.com/

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  10. Success is smiles and laughter, I like that too. In some ways my life has gone downhill in the last few years, but since I met my soul-mate 4 years ago, I have never been happier.

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  11. AWESOME!!! love LOVE the poem too

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  12. Wonderful post. I'm your newest follower.

    Joyce
    http://joycelansky.blogspot.com/2011/05/acrostic-success_31.html

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  13. I do agree with Mojo Writin' great approach!

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  14. Oh, I love your definition: success is finding joy every single day, no matter how small. Beautiful post and I love that poem.

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  15. Congratulations, you won the overlord award! Pop by my place to pick it up;)

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  16. I have an award for you :)
    http://www.wine-n-chat.com/2011/06/versatile-award.html
    Cheers, Jenn

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