"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 to 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 that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded."
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
I love the above quote, but this hasn't always been how I viewed success. In my 20's I thought that it was all about making money and getting stuff. I worked hard for promotions and although working hard is a virtue, I did it for all the wrong reasons. I gained material things, but still felt empty. And I never took the time to figure out why, I just kept "shopping". Then I lost it all.
What a wake-up call! I had a very difficult year and when I started to recover, I realized what was really important; and it had nothing to do with the car I drove or how big my house was. I discovered that everything I thought I'd wanted before was not really all that important. What is important? The relationships that I have with the people I love and care about. Finding work that fulfills me. (Side bar - I know that this isn't always possible - that there are times when we have to do ANY work to survive - to take care of our family. In that case, I would seek fulfillment in my hobbies.) Seeking joy in the little things. Simplifying life.
I work hard now to take care of my family and I am proud of that. It's a different life than I've ever lived, but it's a good one. I have my priorities straight. And to many people I'm sure I look like a failure - but they don't define my measure of success. Not anymore. Not ever again.
Peace, Love, and Chocolate