In high school I was successful. I knew it because at our Annual Awards night, I came home with armfuls of medallions, trophies, certificates and cheques. It’s been five years since the last of those nights, and I’ve taken the time to reflect on the way my life has gone.
When I left high school, my perspective of success was stock standard, pulled from the pages of a textbook. A university degree followed by a full time job. Maybe eventually get married and have a few children. And that was my plan, because obviously I wanted to be successful.
That plan failed.
In the time since leaving school, I haven’t completed a degree, or even gotten a tafe certificate. I have never worked a full time job. I dropped out of not one but two tertiary courses. It took me three years to even get my license. Things have not gone the way I expected them too.
That doesn’t mean the path I’ve walked is the wrong one, or that it’s not the perfect path for me.
Or that I’m not successful.
Maybe my whole idea was wrong in the first place.
Maybe being a successful person isn’t about what you do, but who you are.
My path over the last five years has taken me places I never thought it would go. I spent time overseas, spending time with the broken and the hurting. It grew my heart. I got married to my first love. Marriage challenges your thinking on just about everything and rubs off the rough edges of your character. I have two wonderful children, and mothering them has made me aware of, and subsequently begun to erode, the selfishness in me. I encountered failures. Often my plans were derailed, but that only taught me to trust, to pick myself up and to try again.
As I walk through each situation, I am learning so much. I learn from every challenge, every struggle, every failure, every stressful day and every frustrated moment. I’m growing, changing and developing. My character is being strengthened, and I am proud of that.
I am a success story. I am compassionate. I love. I persevere. I work hard. I am proud of myself.
Life hasn’t gone how I planned it to. It has a tendency to throw curve balls. Things take time, sometimes longer than they should.
In my youth I have this expectation that things should happen instantaneously, or at least in a short time frame. They don’t. As humans, we NEED that time for our own personal development. It takes three or four years to get a degree, but just knowledge is useless if character is lacking. Before you can be trusted, you need to be trustworthy.
I am refusing to accept the idea of success that society has offered. I am a twenty one year old mother of two boys. I am struggling my way through university. Society hasn’t congratulated me on any great achievements lately. I have yet to right the wrongs in the world.
Yet I’m beginning to see the truth and believe it.
My life is a success story.