What does success mean to you?

“Life is made up of small pleasures. Happiness...

In the past I measured my success by everyone else’s. I come from a family of college graduates, pillars of the community, people whose actions garnered instant approval from larger society because their actions fit in with them.
Well, not me. I’ve never fit in – not with my family; not with classmates in school; not with most the friends with whom I grew up. For a long time I was fighting a losing battle with myself, trying to figure out just who Vicki is and what I’m supposed to do with my life. I had no idea what success meant to me. I was failing miserably at life – trying to fit in with people just because I thought I should; worrying myself about going to college mainly because I knew that would please my parents, not so much because I thought I’d be happy with whatever profession I chose.
I thought the answer would pop into my head like one of those cartoon bubbles. Ding! There’s the answer written in bold black letters on a white background. But it didn’t. It has taken a lifetime of maturity and finding my niche. I needed changes in my life. I needed to dig through a variety of experiences to figure out just where I needed to be – and I needed to live up to my core personality to get there.
So, in 1996 I locked my hair in dreadlocks. My Mom scoffed; my Dad was speechless; my sister was tolerant; my co-workers questioned. A few years before that I left meat in my childhood and adopted a vegetarian lifestyle. My Mom was speechless; My Dad: “You’ve eaten meat all your life, why would you stop now?” People I revealed this to peppered me with questions.
After my daughters grew up I settled into my belief that I didn’t need to go to church regularly to live my life as a spiritual person. (I never had the courage to admit that to my parents)
More recently I’ve questioned my Democratic affiliation. (I’ll save talk on that for later.)
These are just a few changes I’ve made in my life that illustrate who the real me is. So how do all these relate to success?
Success is personal. It’s a system of goals and beliefs that comprise who you are and what makes your life work. Some of it may be based on tradition in your family, and much of it may not be. What counts is that your level of success in life works for you. You’re happy; content; and able to face each day confidant that the decisions you are making in your life give you peace, not stress.
So, what does success mean to you?

I'd love to hear your thoughts :)

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