Does anyone know what kind of berries these purple ones are? Such a pretty color.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what “success” means. I’ve also been thinking a lot about what being content means. I get asked from time to time whether or not I realize all the things that I have achieved so far in my life whenever I lament about all the things I can be doing if I had more time. The answer is yes…and no. Learning how to be content is perhaps an art and a key to happiness, but I also don’t see anything wrong with always wanting to achieve more unless it makes you a miserable person in the process, of course. Maybe there are 2 kinds of people in life (a gross generalization obviously for the purpose of this post). People who are or learn to be content with what they have and people who can rarely settle and are always looking for more. I don’t think either way is the best or right way and perhaps it has more to do with your personality than anything else. Are these behaviors learned or conditioned? Or are we just born this way?
I admit that I sometimes bristle at comments that imply that I should be more grateful with what we have and what we’ve achieved. I pause and consider each time I get called miserable by strangers because of some of the things I’ve written. When I speak honestly about wanting to do more with my life, it isn’t about discontentment or being ungrateful and I don’t understand why it sometimes gets interpreted as such. I am always aware that there are people out there who have less and I am always aware that we are blessed, but this is rarely about that. It’s about channeling this inner struggle to always want to do better and more things in a positive way that keeps me excited about life. Some of us need that, whether you want to call it a distraction or a motivator, but some of us need that fire to keep us going.
There are 2 things that my music professor in college told us that has stuck with me through the years. They aren’t earth shattering pieces of advice, but I hear them rattling around in my head from time to time.
1. There will always be people who are better than you (this is in context of being a musician and a composer, not a “better” person).
2. It isn’t always the most talented who succeed, it’s the go-getters who get the opportunities.
It’s pretty obvious, really, but I think it was the first time I heard it from a mentor-type person. It stuck with me in the same way as something my mom said to me when I was a little girl. She told me once when I was frustrated about something that I would have to work harder to get where I wanted because I was a girl and because I was a minority (this was in the 80s, mind you).
So here we are 20+ years later. I think it’s natural to start contemplating life and career changes once you hit 40. I talk about this with my friends all the time. How much longer can we be freelancers at our careers with all these young go-getters snapping at our heels who can do it so much cheaper and yeah, sometimes better than we can? Even if we can, is this what we really want to be doing when we’re 50 years old? So some of it is the vague beginnings of an exit strategy and some of it is because we might be ready for the next thing in our lives anyway. Like any other person, there have been successes and some disappointments in my life. There are times when I falter and spiral down into the “what if” scenarios and question some decisions I’ve made that have led me to where I am, but we are where we’re supposed to be. It doesn’t mean there isn’t room for bigger things. Personally, I can’t think of living my life any other way.
Defining success is a very personal thing for each and every one of us. For some it might be financial, fame, recognition or personal happiness. I’m trying to figure out what success means to me, but I don’t feel like I’ve reached it yet. My plan for my 40s is to raise the girls to be the best young ladies they can be before letting them go out into the world on their own, and to figure out what it is that will truly make me feel successful. It won’t be measured against anyone else’s achievements or criteria but my own. Maybe the business is the start to part of that success but maybe it isn’t. I don’t even know yet. It’s both exciting and daunting, but I know that whatever it is will only come with hard work and the will to make it happen – and if I’m fortunate, maybe a little luck.