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Rethinking Success. And then Rethinking, Again.

Rethinking Success.  And then Rethinking, Again. just a story  sunny beach palm 300x233So I was doing an interview, recently. An email interview, where I was sent a series a questions and asked to please answer some of them. In general, I like this kind of interview and use them myself. It’s low-pressure and the person you’re interviewing can just pass on whatever questions s/he is not interested in answering.

Anyway, one of the questions was, “How do you define ?”

It was a question I wanted to answer, and so I started to write.  And write. And write. Fifteen minutes of incoherent babble later, I stopped.

I have a vision of what I want my ideal life to be. It’s fairly specific. I don’t want to be famous. Or be fabulously wealthy. But I do want certain things.  And I think, and here’s the big thing, that my ideal life is a somewhat realistic ideal.  Given where I am now. I think I can maybe get there by the time I’m 50.

These goals I have, they are dependent on my own hard work. And some luck, too. And they don’t require my falling in love and having a significant other. If one of those comes into the picture, that’s cool. He can come along for the ride. If not, that’s cool, too. But my ideal life doesn’t include him. Not as a requirement.

So here’s the thing, and here’s why I couldn’t really answer the question about success. I have this vision. And I’m on the path. But what if I never make it all the way there.  Chances are, I probably won’t. Chances are, I’ll have to settle for something less. Most people do. Have to settle. I get that. But as a goal-oriented person, I need the goal. I need the vision. The light at the end of the tunnel. Insert your own bad metaphor here.

I was actually really conflicted as I wrote my definition of success (and eventually just scrapped it). Am I NOT successful until I reach my goal? Because that doesn’t seem right. I’m a fairly person. I have less days. Days when I just want to run and hide. But doesn’t everyone?

Maybe the answer (MAYBE) is that success is about working towards my goal, and enjoying the journey. Or something like that. I don’t know. I am enjoying the journey. And I am excited about the future. Whether or not that’s success, it’s going to have to be good enough for now.



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8 to “Rethinking Success. And then Rethinking, Again.”


  1. C. Fassett says:

    I’ve been looking up words lately to make sure I’ve got the bare bones of the definition, instead of something I may have been fed along the line. I looked up the word ‘success’ just now and here is the first definition: The achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted. The second definition is the one I know I’ve been fed, and how I suspect many people look at success: The gaining of fame or prosperity. I like the first definition better. I like the word ‘attempt.’ What I know about myself is if I don’t at least try a thing I’m aiming for, then I won’t feel too good.

    We try all manner of ideas, relationships, business ventures, etc., and they may or may not pan out. In my 50 years of living it has been my experience they probably won’t pan out the way we pictured it. And that’s fair, because there are way too many variables that we need to come to accept. Sometimes those variables add to, instead of take away from. Yet here’s where the journey part is important. If I’m tryin’, I also decide to include whatever may come in to add or take away from the experience of “getting there.” And if I can look back and say, “I gave it my all,” then I’m good.

    There are many things I’ve done in this life of mine where I know I was a success, and I feel a sense of achievement. It is that sense, that feeling I use as my yardstick. Whether anyone on the outside of me agrees with it, or even sees or understands it, is moot. I KNOW I achieved the thing I was shooting for. On the flip side, if I feel a slight sense of failure, I let that be a flag for me. There is something in me saying I either didn’t give it my all, or it’s time to let go. I’ve learned letting go of a dream or goal, while sometimes painful, isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes, we need to let go of a thing so a better one can come in.

    We all need vision to cart our asses out of bed in the morning. To me, you are successful because you keep going. If writing is your passion then you are successful every time you finish an article here, or anywhere else you write. I personally love the way you express yourself and I am glad you are sharing what you do. In many ways you and your honesty have inspired me, a closet writer who desires to “come out.” While that may be a variable you didn’t anticipate as you went along, I just want you to know your work is touching people along the way, and that is a measure of success in itself.

  2. Jolene says:

    Success. That’s a slippery one to define, isn’t it? I think success goes hand in hand with happiness. At least for me. Defining success that makes me happy? May need to do a blog post on that (and think about it more!)

  3. Josh says:

    I think that success is dependent on the person. Some people are happy with just their home and family, and yet others define their success by being happy with their family and their careers, and still others define success by the things that they have! It’s indeed a slippery slope.

  4. NotYetCrazyCatLady says:

    Success comes from being happy and satisfied with our effort or resolution at/with endeavors, whatever they may be. Your definition of what makes you happy/successful may be different than mine and IMO, that’s ok. As long as you can look yourself in the mirror and say “I did my best”. IMO, you were a success.

  5. IntrigueMe says:

    Great post, Simone. I think that you are successful already. If you’re anything like me, then regardless of how many goals you reach, you are always striving for more. Sometimes I feel exhausted, and I wish I could just be satisfied with what I *have* accomplished. Why does that have to be considered “settling”?

  6. NikkiB says:

    “…enjoying the journey” <– yes, ma'am.

    I measure my life in how I feel: in my work, in my body, on average (we all have the shit days for sure). I also measure it in the people around me and the way my work translates to a larger picture I care about. But it's more than "work". How is living my life translating to the bigger picture of my community? Not just my work peers, but those I share this little corner of the world with.

    I think specific goals are necessary. But not the full answer. Great post!