We’ve spent part of this semester at university talking about assessing our future students, and how the way we assess has an effect on our student’s success. Sharing ‘success criteria’ with our students improves their performance – sounds obvious I know, but it was a bit of an eye opener for me. Knowing what success looks like, and knowing what you need to do to be successful means it’s easier to achieve it. Talk about woah.
It got me thinking, what does success criteria for life look like? I’m not so sure that it still looks the same as it did 20 years ago, hell, even 10 years ago when I was daydreaming about being an adult! When I was 16 I thought success was being an actress on stage, in a slinky frock at awards events. I thought success was having people think you’re great and telling you constantly.
Some people think success is having a few extra zeroes on the right side of their bank balance, and some think it’s having that corner office with the view. Others find themselves out of the workforce in their late 50’s but sleep easy knowing that they raised human beings that they’re proud of. I know the huge amount of work that all of those types of success require, but I’ve also come to terms with the fact that they’re not the absolute definition of success for me.
What’s my definition? I’ll show you:
Good food, a happy home, two lovely cats (formerly an oxymoron), a lover whom I adore and a brand new career ahead of me.
It was a long and winding road to get here, and it sure would have been a weight off my mind if someone had come up to me five years ago and said “Here. Here are the things that will make you happy. Do life like this”. There are times when I wish someone had, but more often I think I wouldn’t have listened, and just thundered on regardless. We value things when we know how hard we worked to get them, and that they came at some sort of cost.
It might not be the done thing to decide that you’re successful at 26 when you’re still in university and not earning a wage. But on this bright, cool Tuesday morning while I am avoiding my last paper due on Friday, I say to hell with it. I’m celebrating the successes I’ve had so far in my life, and looking forward to many more, no matter what shape they take.