Your success isn’t my success. The system you use to measure your life’s worth is not the one I use. Your experiences aren’t my experiences. Your life is not my life.
I was having a(n email) conversation last week in which a pretty awful event was described to me. The short of it is that a person’s life and worth was called into question based on a system of values that this person simply does not subscribe to.
I can see both sides of the coin here. (Seeing is not agreeing, let’s keep that in mind.) What I struggle with is not the wisdom and fairness of questioning someone’s value (which is a huge “nooooooooooooooope!” in my books to begin with and truly deserves no discussion time), but ascribing your system of weight to them. They are not you. They do not live the way you live. They do not believe as you believe.
I’ve lived in a world where the esteem of higher education, high financial gain, highfalutin jobs, and a house filled with KitchenAid and Bosch are pillars of success. I think those things are awesome (and I do have KitchenAid things. Plural. More than one), you go make yourself happy. But that’s not how I measure my life.
I live a successful life. I believe this because:
- I have a marriage I don’t foresee ending. Tragedy can strike at any time, and that would be devastating, but beyond that, at our current speed, my husband and I are doing really well. We communicate well, we respect each other, we discuss all the things, we laugh, we get angry, we have shitty days, and we need time away from each other (which we take). We’re an awesome team
- I know that if tragedy did strike, I would be okay. Again, I would be devastated, but I am secure and confident and know that I would make life work.
- I have an outstanding support system. I have found my tribe and I am thankful. I have amazing people in my life, respectful, supportive, encouraging, loving, honest, real people.
- My son is amazing. He is bright, kind, cheerful, he has a beautiful heart and soul, he loves to cuddle and read, and he is most reassured through hugs. I love him and I am so proud of him.
- I have dreams. My own dreams. Not only dreams, but projects borne of those dreams. I am not sitting and waiting for retirement to realize my potential in my interests. I am working on my passions now.
- I have built an amazing professional life. I have taken jobs I maybe should not have and I have learned from them. I have quit jobs I maybe should not have and I have become more me in the process. I have taken chances to pursue my passions and further realize my Self.
- I understand that I am important. That my life doesn’t belong to anyone but me. I am a friend, a mother, a wife, but those are not who I am. I am Kim and in order to be everything else in my life, I need to be the truest, most pure, most successful Kim I can be. (Constant work in progress that will never be truly met…which I kind of really love.)
- …I have KitchenAid appliances…?
That is how I measure success. My life, my success.
How about you? How do you measure your life? How are you judged in your life? What have you fought against to get to where you are, or what’s bogging you down right now?
I feel for you folks, and I won’t say that I’ve never judged. I have. I’m pretty sure we all have. I just try really hard not to, now. I’ve been through enough shit to understand that everyone has their own shit to deal with. (I vastly prefer when they focus on dealing with their lives and not go out of their way to be mean assholes, though.) I’d rather focus on what’s important to me than what I envy, or what pisses me off about others.