REAL Talk- What is success?

-by Brooke Marie

Success. How do we measure it? What car we drive? What job we have and how much we make? How big our house is? Seriously, what is success?

Success in terms of an actual definition means the achievement of something desired,
planned, or attempted. Pretty generic if you ask me. However, my whole life I have
been guided to believe that success is something(s) in particular.

My parents and everyone around me would say, “Brooke, you have to go to college, get a
good job, get a man that makes good money, get yourself a nice house with nice things.”
I used to think that was the path I needed to take. But ever since I was in college (because
that’s what my parents wanted me to do) I felt like there had to be more to life then all these materialistic things, but who was I? I was 18 and was told I knew nothing about life yet.

The subject of success has been coming up an awful lot in conversation amongst me
and my friends. I’m in my early 30’s and we’re all kind of looking around at each other
like “I don’t think I am really successful. Do you think you’re really successful?”. It’s
sort of bizarre.

I mean aren’t we all supposed to be successful contributors to society by this point in
our lives? To one of my friends just making it through the work day without stress is
successful. To another being able to go home and cook dinner in his own apartment with
more then Ramen Noodles is successful.

I went to college right after high school because that’s what I was told I was supposed
to do, so I found something I thought I gave two shits about and majored in it. Well, 1 ½ years into I also realized I was having no fun and was missing out on some bad ass parties and trips with my friends. So, I tried to do both. Eventually I failed at the two
tasks miserably and ended up lying to my parents about school. I felt that I had to lie
because I knew they would be disappointed in me. I was enjoying partying yes but also
enjoying going anywhere at anytime and taking these trips and experiencing new things.
I was good in school. I was in the National Honor Society. But I was also miserable and
feeling so empty about this path so far. School was my life besides work and it literally
sucked.

So after I drop out of college I find myself working full time as a Supervisor at the local
pizza place. As much as I didn’t want this job the rest of my life, I don’t think I’ve ever
seen the beach so much or met as many cool people in my life then at this time. I hated
coming home full of cornmeal from slinging pizzas but I loved being out of work at a
normal time. I loved having weekends off and no test to take on Monday mornings about
some subject that had absolutely nothing to do with the major I was going for. To me this wasn’t so bad. Yea not the most respectable job, but my bills were getting paid and I was able to do things I love.

Fast forward 2 years where I felt loneliness setting in. I had a cute apartment, a nice car,
job, and ahhhh no one to share it with, so I acquire this boyfriend eventually. Things
are good. We end up living together, talking babies, things like that. Lots of fun going
on and whoops..here comes that baby we were talking about. I was ready; he was not.
Onto single motherhood I go.

Fast forward another 10 years. I met a wonderful man, had a decent job, got married, had
another baby, had a house. We had been together 10 years at this point. Anything I ever wanted I had. Was very…. content you could say. You know, living a successful life to some people. Like things happen sometimes, it all fell apart somewhere. So here I am 30 years old and starting over. While there were other things emotionally going on underneath all the surface stuff, I still needed to get up every morning and deal with life and take care of my 2 boys. I needed to raise these boys and make sure they didn’t even feel the slightest bump in their road from this split up.

After taking time off work to really get a grip on what was important to me and mentally clear out, I finally found another job. I’m not a millionaire by any means, but I can provide enough and be home with my children for normal things…. to do the homework stuff, and the dinner, and the wrestling match before bed time. I have time for the walks on the river, the ice cream trips, going to the farm to pet the animals, the long rides car along the river to plan our next camping trip.

I’ve come to the conclusion that success is only measured by your own self. Without writing a long mundane story about my life I will say that the fact that I made it to 30 and I’m very much alive and kicking and surviving is amazing in and of itself. To look next to me and see these handsome little men alive and smart and enjoying life with me is just undeniably the hardest and best thing I have experienced in my life. I may spend the rest of my life finding out who I am and maybe “finding the right one”, but I know that raising these boys to be loving, caring, smart contributing gentlemen to society is what I consider to be the best success story I could ever tell.

One Response to REAL Talk- What is success?

  1. tricia cruts says:

    I agree with everything in this article…some people would think i am sucessful. Other people may disagree based off what they feel is successful. I never had what others consider to be ” the right” friends. However, i have always had more fun with my friends. I genuinely really like the friends that i have. I did finish school and went to a lot of parties. I always towed the line and never went over the edge with parting. I think success is defined by how happy you feel in your certain set of circumstanes. Based off this premise most people have the ability to change their success if they want to. I am a happy
    person. I enjoy my friends. There were times when i felt i was unable to be happy or successful. I worked at it. I dont believe finances are the only means of attaining happiness.

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