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.

Apocalyptica feat. Corey Taylor – I’m Not Jesus




8 thoughts on “Success

  1. Whoa. Deep questions. I think I measure my life by how able I am to live up to my ideals and values. I’m hard on myself when I can’t. Like…do I have the emotional bandwidth to be calm and present with myself, my child, my friends? Do I have energy to take the compost out everyday or do I just toss it with the rest of the trash. So many examples and so little time… Another thing I value highly is not holding tight to judgement of other people. If I have something to say about someone – I try to say it to them directly and not to someone else. If I can’t do that then there is little reason to spend my time thinking it or talking behind their back.

    I’ve definitely been judged on being a former foster youth. People stoop to all kinds of hilarious lows once they find that out about me. And also on being a single parent. There has been a lot of talk on one my my favorite parenting forums about how partnered parents feel like single parents when their partners are out of town. One of many things that is different about that though is the full-on stigma/judgement that can come along with being a single parent. It’s like nothing else I’ve ever experienced as an adult.

    • “Another thing I value highly is not holding tight to judgement of other people. If I have something to say about someone – I try to say it to them directly and not to someone else.” I love that. I endeavour to add that to my life. I am TERRIBLE at confrontation, but I know how important this is.

      Parenting judgement. Good grief, yes. On all fronts, hey? It’s so difficult just to do your best. It’s actually getting difficult to be neutral at this point. :/ (Thankfully we have that whole doula “be supportive and don’t bring your own agenda, even if your personal feelings/beliefs are different from your client’s”? 😉 )

      • Ha! Somehow I’ve become the person that all my friends call when they have to confront someone. Hearing many people say I am “good at confrontation” is kind of awkward because I don’t see it in that light. It makes me laugh. But I should just embrace it! I AM GOOD AT CONFRONTATION! I guess that’s what happens after living a life as insane as mine has been. Lot of opportunities to practice…!

        And yeah, the reason I became a doula is because of all the doulas who volunteered in my home when I was sick. Not one of them came in with an idea of what my family was “supposed” to look like. It was a major boost and a major lesson for me. Especially in this world of parental judgement/mommy wars. Who knew that all this was in store for us when we were pregnant right?!

  2. I love this. SUCH important questions to ask ourselves, and you put it so well. You are such a damn good writer, and you always make me think and question (in the very best way possible!). I’ll be reflecting on success and my idea of it soon, but for now, I have this: 1) Solid marriage 2) Solid friendships 3) Career goals 4) I write 5) I try to be true to myself 6) KITCHENAID

  3. Urgh this is so tough for me. I judge myself extremely harshly, and don’t REALLY know how to fix it. I suppose honestly defining success in specific detail might help, because believing myself a failure but not being sure how to turn myself into a success sure isn’t working for me.

    If I balance successes against failure It looks like this:
    SUCCESS: humour; friendship; love/sex; travel & interesting life
    FAILURE: finances; weight/fitness; any kind of material success (property, decent investments, art collection etc.); having my own business; writing a book; having children; making a fucking difference in any way shape or form.

    So meh. >.<

    I also judge others – maybe that is part of the same problem? But also some people do actually need a slap… I get burnt out when I pretend otherwise for too long. Don't get me wrong, I am not a complete cow – I do have compassion, but honestly some people are just plain wrong / selfish / fucked-up; trying to see them as lovely people 'with their own journey which they walk in their own shoes etc.' sometimes leaves you feeling compromised and drained. So pointing at them (mentally) and thinking "you are a giant douche" is a way of staying sane.

    • Some people are just twatwaffle-douchebag-cunts. Sometimes it is what it is.

      You know what it is, sometimes, with this kind of post/musing? I need to get my shit together and remind myself that I’m not a failure. I’m overwhelmed and I’m thisclose to burn out. Overwhelmed and burn out lead me straight to depression and I can’t afford to be depressed right now. I’m doing something way too important for that kind of negativity to enter in, right now.

      I also really do believe that there’s shit going on for everyone. I mean there are Jeffrey Dalmers in the world and I’m pretty sure they’re just assholes, but I know damn well that most of the douchebags in the world are dealing with things. Sometimes they’re doing it poorly (imo), but there’s usually something going on. That, and I just don’t want to be that negative anymore. I would rather call it a struggle, have compassion and move on than dwell on their bullshit. I’ve done that for too long, too many times. I just can’t anymore. It’s draining. I have my own shit to deal with. 😀

      I like your failure pile. It looks like projects. …not to be patronizing. I just know that “making a difference” (DOULA) and “writing a book” are in mine, too. I haven’t counted them out, I’m just trying to organize my life to give them a little time to grow. THERE ARE TOO FEW HOURS IN A GODDAMN DAY.

      • I hear you sistah!! But I still channel hirondelle and do believe Shiva’s message is there are two paths to enlightenment and we walk both simultaneously.

        In the words of Alana Louise May (from a great post Dom’s sister shared and I have read many times with much joy) “Honour your shadow or that wild bitch will fuck you so hard no amount of cold pressed organic coconut oil will make it better.” I do believe in compassion and positivity, but we have anger and dark thoughts that we need to acknowledge as part of our journey. They are what makes us human.

        Also Just so you know… I had never heard of kitchenaid until you guys started posting about it, and now I need that shit 😛

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