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Redefining Success.... Life Lessons In Midlife

I'm redefining success since what I once thought it was didn't work out so good. Perhaps you, too, through your own experiences, have drawn similar conclusions in life leading into new trains of thought? I'd love your thoughts on some of these ideas....

First, what success is NOT. Success is NOT the high power position/title with the bucks and benefits. I once thought I was "special" because I had all that. Oftentimes, our career success comes through right time/right place/serendipity/who ya know, etc..... yes, hard work, too... yes, impressive education/experience... good looks, even... but there are no guarantees for it (the success) to be forever. Ask anyone who ever got laid off or suffered some decline, got old, etc. The ups and downs may or may not be relevant to who you are inside, but happen "just because".

Success is not because you made a beautiful family and home... I've learned that kids turn out good or bad not always based on good parenting but other influences, too (opportunities or lack thereof, attitude, disease/disorder, drug addiction, peer influences, etc.) and good kids can grow out of hostile and unstable homes, too. So we shouldn't pat ourselves too much on the back or condemn self too harshly based on how a marriage ends up or kids turn out. We can only do the best we can do.

In midlife, people often pause and reflect on things done in life good or bad, right or wrong... but somehow, it all leads us to where we ended up, so how can good/bad or right/wrong even matter? I often think (now this is going to sound very controversial...) but someone who lives in a convent or in the protected confines of a church (such as a priest or a nun), live their lives "good"... but they have not lived and confronted demons and come to know who they are from the great emergence of choices made and lived with and overcoming adversity. They have walls of protection and influence nearby and aren't out there in the trenches making a mess of things like we do, falling, picking up again, starting over. Not to put down someone who has ready positive forces surrounding them... I'm just sayin' we find ourselves in the strangest of ways and places and sometimes through our own darkness before we come out OK later..

And it's not so bad here.... in the trenches... I think. I am learning and growing and finding myself at this late date in my life. Perhaps I am a late bloomer and this all should have happened in my 30's.

I am beginning to like the woman I am.

Can you believe I am saying this shit? Me? Miss Martyr? Miss Critical?

But here's the thing.... I have made mistakes. Me. Perfect--Good Girl--Always on Top--- ME!!!

I realize I don't know what I don't know. I am a babe in the woods when it comes to some things. I have been absent from reality for a long time, while I was living some deluded "charmed" life being an executive, advanced degree student and author, a mom and a wife. And half of it was phoney baloney.

But I know a few good things... and these things make me successful.

I am humble and good. I help people because of what I have learned in life. Even if I don't know the answer, I have the gift of compassion and sometimes all people need or want is someone to listen and hold a hand. And I understand more than just the human mind and the psychology of behavior... I understand the tender heart. I understand the individuality and importance of life to each person uniquely. Come to me. I care.

My world is very small and comprised of very few close friends and loved ones. I prefer it this way. There is hardly time and space in this short time we are given human life to love and adore those who I do, let alone the whole world. I wish I could do more. I wish I could change the world through teaching, writing books... but I see the reality of success being that making differences happens in such smaller, more personal ways.

I want to make a difference.

And I'm learning.. whatever the want of the human heart, that's the path to follow. Insodoing.. Success is in finding peace of mind. It's the connection of heart and mind to all things we think and do.


That's all there is.

And something so blessed is yet so difficult to attain, isn't it?

Do you have peace of mind? Are you on the path that connects your heart and mind to the things that are wonderful?


Spidey said...

We can only do the best we can do.>>>>>

how many people actually do the best they can do? and how do you measure this? can you measure it? when someone wins, do you ever hear them say.... I did the best I could? no, you usually hear someone say that when they haven't won. like it is an excuse. well, i did the best i could.
if you are blessed and your children turn out to be fine human beings, do you say.... i did the best i could? or if the kid turns out to be a bum, do you defend yourself and say...i did the best i could with that child.
just an observation. i have thought about this "doing the best i could" statement before. and i am not so sure when it is used that a person truly did do the best they could.

today at this moment, i have peace of mind. what happens tomorrow or in an hour from now, i might not have control over. i take it all just a little at a time, and am happy in that moment.

Jilly said...

to piggy-back on spidey, sometimes we can't do our best because we shouldn't be doing anything at all. i think the times we can't do anything are the worst times ever. we just love to butt in and riproar into action when often, there is no proper action. it feels great to give someone a piece of your mind or to "go down there" but 99% of the time, the person you let loose on, isn't the one responsible and in the end, there's little they can do for you anyway. so, how does the "best you can" factor into "you should have done it at all"?

i feel pretty good about things right now, but i can't promise anything later today when potty training the baby starts. i guess when she's potty trained i can't call her "the baby" anymore.

i often think the things you don't tell us speak louder than the things you do. you must have a lot of self restraint to resist ranting about the things that get you ranting about what you do rant about.


doreenmary said...

Wow. Spidey and Jilly you both make such great points...

Spidey, I think you're right. And maybe what we do is try to "forgive" our mistakes by saying, "I did the best I could," as some sort of excuse for not achieving excellence. But honestly, I think with the complexity of life and the competing priorities, if we truly had a grasp of the importance of a thing before we mess it up, we'd have done better. It's the hindsight 20/20 thing. In other words, we often don't know how bad something is until it's too late.

Miss Jilly, because I am an open book and expressive, it is my nature to share my life stories and truths and I thrive on the honesty and the exchanges of meaningful connections and communications. It is because I teach I refrain from truly purging and sharing some of the more personal things. You always get a pulse of what's going on in my world, but maybe not the gory details or the drama.

I once had a stalker here at my blog who then found my home and workplace and frightened me. It forever changed the things I speak of on the blog... particularly about anything of EXTREME sexual content, for the most part. And, being single... Can't be too safe.

I'm a teacher. Not that my students care to read what an old lady like me is doing... ranting like a mad woman might not be so good.


Remember Porkchop from the bookshelf? I remember she toned down her blog and we all were sad. How is she? She was a riot! What ever happened the Deb? The one who wrote about her prison experiences?


Spidey said...

porkchop has a blog again, but doesn't post alot. not sure how deb is. i think she had a baby. i wish you would come and visit my blog sometime. :)