Monday, June 11, 2012

Success?

As I noted in the previous post, much has happened since I last blogged with some regularity. To those who read consistently, I apologize. You do mean a lot to me, and I do miss writing, and your comments, and all the fun times we have together. :p I promise I'll try to write more!

One of the things that has gotten in the way of blogging is work. Ah yes, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. Well, I've basically been working three jobs since the summer started. I was hired full time at a company called Hydrite, where I do cool things like mix chemicals and shit. I work 20-30 hours a week at my previous job Red Robin (Yum!). Where I make delicious burgers, for your tasting pleasure. And, I also work part time (10-20 hrs/week) at World Relief.


Needless to say, it's been a lot. I do sleep, sometimes.

Now that you know where I've been, I'll skip right to the point of the post today.

Success.

I've been thinking about success a lot lately. What it means to be an accomplished individual, or what kind of life qualifies as a life "well lived." There's a lot of opinions about what this means. 

Growing up, I've always understood success as:
1) Graduating high school
2) Getting your 4-year degree from a liberal arts university
3) Getting a job that makes a lot of money
4) Buy a house
5) Get married
and 
6) Leave a chunk of change behind for your kids so they can bury you in style, and have a little leftover for themselves.

Now, with the economic collapse that happened several years ago, and with unemployment still pretty darn high, I've begun to question if these goals are attainable, but more importantly, if these things we champion in society really, truly equal success.

Right now, I'm on a break from school. I went for a year, and then began to work. Many friends, upon hearing this, have spoken to me in cautionary tones. Essentially they've warned me that if I work too much, I'll never go back and finish my degree. 

'Cause, you know, without a degree I have no real credibility as a person, or an employment prospect for that matter.

Here's the thing though, many of my friends, who are graduating around now,  are having all kinds of trouble finding decent paying jobs. Many of these same friends are in 40, 50, or 60,000 in debt because of their loans. 

I have a relatively small amount of debt, which will be paid off by then end of the summer (hopefully).

I'm looking into buying a starter home. While the market is prime to buy (which it currently is). Many college friends of mine are moving home, trying to figure out the next thing.

I make a decent wage at my primary job. I'm certainly not rich, but I'm not in trouble, or lacking when it comes to money. In fact, I'm incredibly blessed. I have enough to meet my needs, and to give to the charities that I've felt moved by. I find myself shaking my head in amazement at how good God can be to me sometimes.

As far as the married, and kids thing goes...well, that can wait for now. I'm happy single, and looking to the next thing. I'm excited about the prospect of owning property (the American dream), and having my only debt be for a mortgage.

The most important thing, however, is that I'm happy and content where I am right now. I know I'm here for a reason. I know that I have an incredible family and friends. I know that I'm blessed with a job, and a steady income, that I can hopefully use to bless others with.

I guess what I'm saying is this; I feel very successful. I feel very accomplished as an individual, and comfortable with where I am in life, and the direction I'm going.

There are others who probably would disagree with me, and say that to "get places" in life, I'd need to finish my degree, do the internship route, and work my way up the corporate ladder like every other student I know.

That's not me though. At least, lately I've been concluding that that isn't me.

So what is success?

Is it attending to a prestigious University?
Is success that fancy piece of paper you've slaved for, for about a half decade or so?
Is success making a six figure salary?

Or is success being happy with the person you've been created to be?
Is it that real, tangible grasp that you have on the reality of how blessed you are?

Society, your peers, or even your family (although I hope this isn't the case!) may tell you that, without certain things, you don't add up. That you're a failure, a disappointment, or that you've come short of your potential.

Don't buy it.

Success isn't about attaining. There's always something new to attain in life.
Success, to me, is about being true to yourself, and finding contentment in the things around you here and now.

2 comments:

Tim said...

Success is a personal definition. For some people its a certain amount of money, and for other people its a certain kind of lifestyle. For myself (and I think you as well) its a certain kind of life, not lifestyle. Friends, family, and of course #1 - having a strong relationship with God. Success for me isn't something I can achieve on this planet; it'll come when I meet Jesus in heaven. Good post!

Josh said...

Well said Sir! You're honestly one of the smartest people I know, and I always appreciate your input here! :)