Tuesday, May 16, 2006


It means lots of things. Different things for different people. For some it is about finding the perfect job, one that fulfills and challenges them; others it is measured in dollar amounts, their net worth, their income; for still others in personal achievements like building a strong community, or finding a wonderful mate, or raising a healthy family. The list must be endless. And very possibly a moving target, once we hit one bench mark, or finally get the proverbial A grade in one area, then we start yearning for the next accomplishment, the next demonstration of our worth.

What an impossible task. An uphill struggle.

And for so many we don’t even know what would actually make us HAPPY (perhaps just one more possible definition of success), and so instead of taking the time to uncover that important piece of information, we reference from outside. We wonder or figure out either what would make others happy or what they think is an appropriate definition of success and go shoot for that. And then there are societally sanctioned goals: a good education, financial security, a family. Or perhaps we look to our peer group’s standard, or the standard of the peer group we long to fit into. Or we look to our family’s perspective on what makes someone a good person, a successful person.

Upon some reflection, for me, success needs to equal happiness. And frankly, I think the only way I can really define my own success would be through the question “Am I being the most Signy I can be, in any given moment, the most true to myself?” There lies the source of my happiness, and my north star, and the path to my destiny (whatever that may be and how ever successful I am at reaching it). Sadly, for years (perhaps decades) I have been looking outside for the definition and the approval that comes with accepting other people’s definition and expectations to reach them. It is a very secure place to look, but also a disappointing one, because even if I reach others people’s goals, it is usually at the expense of my own or myself, or knowing myself, or my own true expression. So… not worth it. Not worth other people’s pats on the back when I am giving myself a kick in the pants (and not the good kind of kick in the pants).

So as I step out into a new world. One that I get to define as I want (love anniversaries, and rituals, they give us chances to choose again, to decide anew and pick where we want to start focusing as of this moment), I think I will get more conscious about this game, and I will choose to define success by happiness, my happiness. And whether I feel that I am being true to myself and expressing myself authentically.

And then again, I need to remember, that I have already been successful, by all definitions, in that, today, defying odds and laughing in the face of statistics, I am alive. And that particular success is enough to last a lifetime, however long that lifetime is.


At 12:01 PM PDT, Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Yes, happiness is one of those difficult things to define and a tougher thing to measure. We re-define it every day it seems. And how do we know we are truly happy based just on our own definition and not anyone else's for the line is very fuzzy...a lot of overlapping just due to what we have "learned" should be making us happy. It is difficult to separate the two. We need to examine how to recognize the "feeling" of happiness and from where it came. Often we go looking for it - a mistake for it truly comes, "From The Soul Within".

(title of the 1st song I ever wrote both the words and music too and got recorded in a studio just a few years ago - a huge thrill for me! It was all about he search for happiness and yes, that whole creative expression process made me very proud and happy indeed!)

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