Monday lunchtime I was driving through London when a random question popped into my head. Am I successful? At first I thought one answer, and then a different one, and lastly I tried to decide what exactly being successful meant in general and how it applied to me in particular.
You often hear of those successful business men and women who have made it to the top of their chosen profession, the ones with a beautiful house, a lovely family, expensive cars, you get the picture. At first glance, this person might well appear to be successful. How could they not be with all that finery around them? Take a step back and look again. The husband is having an affair with this secretary, his wife with the pool boy (clichéd I know). The children can afford a better class of drugs to use and you can’t see the hidden costs, such as bank loans, mortgages, and the long back-breaking hours it has taken them to get to this stage. Now are they successful?
I would not dare suggest that you cannot be successful without doing the pool boy, especially if you don’t actually own a pool. Just because someone appears to be successful, or claims to be, does it really mean that they are? We all define success differently, especially when it comes to ourselves. Let me be an example or perhaps a warning to you all.
At present I am 42 years old (had to take a minute to remember the year first), married with two children, living in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada. We own one car, my wife and I both have to work, and while money is coming in, it tends to go back out again just as quickly. I moved to Canada in 1998 to marry a girl I met on the Internet (yes, I am the one) and nearly 13 years later, we are still (sometimes) blissfully married. It may not always appear that way as we both seem to be tired all the time. Working and raising a family apparently does that to you.
I work in London, and so drive back and forth each day, approximately an hour in total. There are days when I enjoy my job and others when I don’t. I could probably get a better job, I could must definitely get a worse one. More money would be nice but I enjoy my co-workers and place of work so why would I want to go else where simply for more money?
With my wife and I both enjoying the pleasures of ADHD as well as other mental illnesses, our lives often feel as if it is controlled by a bag of drunk monkeys. This is reflected in our house which looks, at the best of times, like an untidy frat house. It is fair to say that if you walk anywhere bare foot in our house, no matter which room, the chances of standing on a piece of Lego is 50/50.
This is my life. It is who I am. So I ask myself again. Am I successful?
I have been for nearly 13 years. My wife and kids say they love me, they could be kidding me though. I have a roof over my head, a steady job, wonderful parents and parents-in-law, I mostly have my health, I mostly have my sanity. I haven’t lost my sense of humour, regardless of what life has thrown my way.
Yes, I am successful because I love where I am and who I share my life with. How can anyone be more successful than that?