Success; just what is the definition?

According to Mariam Webster the definition of SUCCESS

  1. obsolete : outcome, result
  2. a : degree or measure of succeeding b : favorable or desired outcome; also : the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence

Most people only look at the second part of 2-b, ‘the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence’.  It is with this that I have issue.  There are other ways to be considered ‘successful’ that are completely overlooked.

I was just talking with a friend of mine.  As girls we used to walk

Hoard of ancient gold coins

Image via Wikipedia

around Balboa Island and look at the houses, dreaming of our futures with the hopes that we would be successful.  We hoped that we would be rich and powerful women in the workforce.  She hoped of possibly landing into real estate or owning her own company.  I would be famous as an actress or singer, without a doubt, and go off to New York by way of England in the Royal Shakespearean Company.

We both got accepted to Cal State Universities and went onto college.  However, as life would have it she dropped out of college with all the intention of completing her degree later; and got married and had a family.  I too dropped out of college and fumbled from one job to the next, went back to Jr. College and was holding three jobs just trying to keep up.  My dream of being an actress just didn’t seem ‘practical’ and so I got a ‘real job’ and ended up moving north.  She found herself with one baby and then two, so needless to say college went on the back burner.

Before we knew it we found ourselves in our 40’s.  While we were talking she was telling me how she didn’t see her life as a success.  Now, this is a woman who has raised two of the most self sufficient and thoroughly enjoyable women I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, working alongside her husband in building their successful business.  Put both their girls through school; and has done so without so much as a complaint.  I asked her, ‘how could that not be successful?’  So many other parents might be rolling in the dough, be heads of Fortune 500 companies, but their children are completely lost and are a mess.  Parenting is ‘the’ most important career out there.  Now that, coupled with working the family’s successful business, putting in weekends and nights, I’m hearing ‘SUCCESS’ loud and clear!

I have another friend who seems to be suffering from the same plight.  She compares herself to all of her friends and how they must have it together because they have their doctorate or they have built such a financial success for themselves.  But this is a woman who, as a teacher, still gets letters and emails from students that she taught years ago.  Now, I ask you, does that sound to you like an unsuccessful person?  She has impacted hundreds of little minds in a positive way.  She was voted Teacher of the Year and continues to strive to find new ways to reach out and make the learning last.  Doesn’t sound like an ‘unsuccessful’ person to me.

The first part of our definition is ‘favorable or desired outcome’ and in both these scenarios I do believe they achieved a favorable and desired outcome.  We get so hiped up on comparing ourselves to the ‘wealth’ of others that we forget to see what we have done  is right in front of our noses.

I think we all should keep an ‘at-a-boy/girl file’.  When life gets a bit harsh or we get a bit low, you pull that out.  In there you keep all the notes, all the praises, all the awards, all the pictures.  Pull them out from time to time to remind you just how successful we all are.

I’m the first to say that I haven’t done what I set out to do, but I’m also going to tell you that I’m not done yet.  I continue to reinvent myself and I don’t have to keep the little girl  I was happy.  Those dreams I had were wonderful at one time, but I have new dreams, new aspirations and many new things I wish to do.  There is a whole lot of life still waiting to be lived.

Success can be measured in many ways; and not to mitigate those who have pulled themselves up to be the millionaires that run companies; but I think the true measure of success is what we do with each other and in the character of a man.  Not in the degrees or the money, but rather in the love and the compassion you show.

You might say, “Nora that’s a given, that’s easy” but I say, it’s not as easy as you think.  There are a great many people out there that are what I call emotionally retarded.  They have absolutely no concept and they have absolutely no ethics.  Many would look at some who seem so brilliant and who have done so much for an industry, as successful.  But they treat their employees and sales force with no humanity; like puppets or pawns in a game, their game.

No, don’t be fooled by the money factor.  Too many people can be so clearly blinded, especially in this economy.  Love and compassion must be the driving force.

So, what is the definition?  I prefer to stick with the first part -favorable or desired outcome… and add ‘the attainment of character, love and compassion through the eyes of those you touch’.

Romance… Perhaps I’m Ready to Dip My Toes In.

Living the good life

Image by San Diego Shooter via Flickr

Ahh… Saturday morning, and what a glorious morning it is!  Life is good; it’s GREAT!  For the first time in a long time (much longer than I can remember) I feel happy to awake every morning.  Sure there are moments where I’m down, but the difference?  They are only moments and then they’re over.

They say that we go through seasons in our lives and I do believe I’ve finally arrived to the ‘Spring’ of those seasons.  Where everything is in bloom and starting a new; old has made way for new.  I’m feeling it now as I meet new people and make new friends (and new love interests possibly?).  Yep, you heard that right, there are a few new possibilities, I like the variety.  More importantly, I like the idea of simply getting to know these new individuals with no other thought than finding a new friend (period).  It is a delicious thought however, ‘new love’.  Possibly another reason for my spring in my step.

With this new ‘spring in my step’ I find I enjoy everything so much more.  I now look forward to making plans.  Whether it’s just getting out or to go away with friends and family;  I no longer get caught up in all the old garbage that used to fill my mind.  All of those thoughts of ‘I’m not good enough’ have somehow vanished.  Well, not completely, but I’m able to kick them out just as quickly as they come in.  It’s wonderful!

Truth is, we all have feelings of not being good enough.  It’s just that some of us know not to believe those thoughts and to kick them out as quickly as they come in, where others of us choose to dwell on them.  And here’s the thing, we are ALL good enough, better in fact.  We are ALL deserving of the bounty that this life has to offer if only we would just relax and allow ourselves the pleasure of accepting it.

Well, I’ve accepted it and will continue to accept all that this life has to offer me.  And you know something?  I think that is why my career is turning around too.  I’m finally back in a good space where I enjoy who I work with, am enjoying the challenges I face which, in turn, helps me to not take things so seriously.  The person I work with is also a good balance for me, very calming.  And our company is in a position of growth and improvement, I can see it, which is always exciting.

Yep, life is great.  New possibilities, new friends, new experiences.  And romance?  Who knows, perhaps I am ready to dip my toes into the pool again.  We’ll see.

Reflection can put your world in a whole new light. Is it me or did someone clean my rose colored glasses?

Rose Coloured Deceptions

Image by derekGavey via Flickr

Ah, summer is finally here.  I’ve had so much to reflect on this past year (my year is almost up you know…).  I’m still a bit wary of dating; I just found out that a man I dated for a while was married that whole time (still is!).  As it so happens, my co-worker I just hired coached his daughter in soccer.   Not only that, but this same co-worker’s daughter is friends with his daughter (small world huh?).

The funny thing is that we were friends first and foremost, so there really was no reason for him to lie to me.  There was no way in hell he was ever going to date, or ‘be’ with me in the first place.  It was only after I left my husband that one thing led to another and the rest was history.  What an Asshole!  I feel for his wife, she probably has no idea.

My stupidity got me to thinking, because I had my suspicions.  I asked him, not once, but on three (3) separate occasions and he denied it each time.  He even laughed and joked with me the last time.  I should have known better I guess, but how?  I guess the next time I’m serious about someone, I’ll need to get their driver license number and check against the county records of all the states, then if ‘married’ shows up, check against for any divorce records (jeese!).

I should be pissed off, but I’m not; I just chalk it up to experience.  I told him ‘sienarra’ in February (yea, that was him… the “I taught you how to treat me” guy).  He told me he was living with his sister (what a dolt I was, damn!).  But I am learning and I’m learning through the actions of what I don’t want, that which I do want in my life.  No longer is a man going to woo me over with simple flattery.  It worked at one time (might even for a minute now… but only a minute), but not now.  Because, like I’ve said before, I like this woman I see.  I love the curves (saggy arms and all), the wrinkles, the gray; I even love my humongous nose.  And if I love these characteristics, somebody else will too, I just know it.

There is somebody out there who will love me for me, be able to believe in me when I can’t, pick me up when I fall and who will allow me to do the same for them (that is the tricky part… not everyone will allow that for themselves).  Relationships are give and take; and to have a good one you must be able to do BOTH.

Thank God for summer and I’m so grateful that it is finally here.  Life and the world is looking oh so much fresher than it did a year ago, is it me or did someone just clean my rose colored glasses?

Rags, riches; who’s to say who has it better?

Volkswagen Beetle outlines

Image via Wikipedia

So many of us have so many different experiences growing up.  Some of us had plenty, some had little.  Some got the car on their 16th birthday, while others were lucky to get a cupcake with a candle in it and a song.  But who is to say which of these lives is the better?

I was privileged to share Easter dinner with my sister and her friends.  What a wonderful day and evening!  Great food and great conversation.  One of the topics was the difference in our upbringing.  But perhaps ‘upbringing’ is the incorrect word since that would be more the moral code brought down by the parents than the amount of money they could afford to lavish on their children (of course to some, that might be up for debate, but not here).

But I got to thinking about my family and just how lucky we were, how blessed we were.  Now, as many of you have come to know, we didn’t have much by way of ‘money’; but what we did have was much love and a great understanding.  We had traditions and stability.

There was a wonderful couple at the table and as they were sharing their individual stories (he came from a much more modest background, where hers was more politically and financially secured, but both were obviously deeply in love after all these years), I began to think about my own story (our own story as a family).

I began to see the riches buried in the traditions.  Money?  No.  But, we had things like Christmas, and our summer trips to South Dakota and Idaho and Oregon where all five of us traveled in a Volkswagen Beetle.  Yes, you heard that right, a VW bug.  Or going to Sunday School and singing in choir; but not until we had our famous homemade burgers and fries on Saturday nights (a tradition started by our father).  And of course the infamous ‘hair night’ (also on Saturday) where each of us girls would sit in front of our mother on this cushion that looked like a turtle to get our hair set in rollers and pin curls (I am dating myself here as this was way before the electric roller).

I guess my point here is that you can have all the ‘riches’ you need or want, but without the love, the time shared and the traditions, you really don’t have much.  So often anymore, call me old or ‘jaded’, I see parents spending $$$ on their children as if to pay them hush money.  As if to say, “if I pay you $100.00, will you stay quiet so I don’t feel so guilty for missing your…?” fill in the blank.

We wonder why we are in the state we are in.  It doesn’t take a genius  to figure it out; children need and want to be parented!  They want to know that they came from somewhere.  They want to know about where they came from, they want the traditions and, yes, they want the mundane.  Yes!  The Saturday ‘hair night’ or ‘burger night’ (ok… tofu… whatever!).  Ok, I’m off my ‘soap box.’

Bottom line; the more I’m out of my marriage, the happier I’m becoming in my skin.  And THAT is understanding that as  a child I was truly blessed indeed.  Mother made her share of mistakes; of course she did.  I always said that parents are securing the jobs of the future psychiatrists.  True?  Of course true!  But, there was a great deal she did right and it didn’t take a 100.00 a week allowance to make it so (shoot times have changed, some kids get way more than that!).

Rags/riches… I don’t know, I’d take the simple honest, loving ‘this is what we got, so how can we make the best of it’ attitude any day of the week.

I Love you Mommy…  Happy Mother’s Day wherever you are!

It doesn’t have to be from the ‘riches’ it just has to be from the heart.