As I’ve gotten older it has become more and more apparent to me how success means different things to different people. When I was younger success definitely meant making loads of money and having nice things. I think that living with my mother shaped this perception considerably. What other people thought of her was always very important to my mother and buying expensive things (mostly on credit) to present a life of opulence was something she did to impress others. Also taking her friends (and sometimes family) out to dinners happened very frequently and trading in her car every 2 years was standard. It turned out to be her downfall. Later her family were made to feel that they “owe her” since they participated in making the debt by joining her for dinners or accepting gifts (even under protest). She once bought my grandfather a very expensive gift on his credit card. Tsk. But I digress!
For a long time I believed earning a good salary, driving a new car and having nice furniture meant that you were successful. I readily believed this until my very late twenties. Then I got married. I started my family. I expanded my family. I watched others around me making loads of money, but grasping at what I had without success. I started to realize that you cannot buy the things I have. I look at my life and I am grateful and feel extremely blessed. I still want the nice things. I still want a house with a bedroom for each child and a yard for them to play in. I still want a new lounge suite and wouldn’t mind having a newer car. I want these things, but I am not crying myself to sleep at night because I simply can’t keep up with the Jones’. I have things that money cannot buy.
I have a faithful husband. I have an intelligent, handsome and gentle son. I have a beautiful, mischievous daughter. We are all healthy. We have food to eat every night. We have a roof over our heads. We have beds to sleep in with warm blankets. We love each other. What more does my soul need? I have things that money cannot buy.
So while bucket loads of money (or at least enough for that house and a new car) would be really nice, I realize that I am extremely blessed. My world comprises of these people that I love immensely and nothing else really matters that much. I gripe when I have to work weekends/public holidays, not because we don’t need that little bit of overtime (we do), but because I am away from my family while most people get to spend their weekends/public holidays* with theirs. I miss them. I can always make more money, but I cannot buy memories. I cannot buy my children’s childhood back. I have things that money can’t buy.
What does success mean to you?
*Overtime is compulsory, so I cannot choose not to work.