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Friday, January 17, 2014

Measuring Success

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I’ve been feeling weirdly nostalgic.  I think the post about Sarah K. brought up an eclectic mix of thoughts and emotions, as well as the snippets of conversation between tib and I about the past (recent past and distant past).  Every “we met when your father was working as a stock boy…” and “remember when you used to…” story used to be the present.  It was what was known and real and solid and only just forming in front of us.  In those raw moments, we just moved through them as best as we could and without all of the information we’d later have.  We were just doing what we could, without knowing (maybe ever) what the whole picture was, should be, could be, or would become.

You know, for example, that your babies (barring something terrible) will grow up.  Yet, when you’re holding your tiny bundles in your arms, all you can think about is how delicious your baby smell and how leaky it is and you ooh over every yawn and giggle over every hiccup… until you don’t anymore.  The moment passes.  Tiny little gurgles eventually become real words and little burps become so regular that you’re past it and on to teaching manners over such behaviors.  Or, maybe you’re just busy oohing and ahhing over whatever the next precious moment is.  When you do think about the potential future of your children, you have no choice but to do so abstractly. 

Yes, you know they’ll grow up… and what?  You don’t know what that’ll look or feel like.  Can you, when holding your newborn baby, define exactly your vision of your child’s successful future?  Gosh, can you even define what your own success will look like ten or twenty years from that moment?  Maybe vaguely, but there are too many unknowns that will come into play to truly be able to specifically and successfully define (and then bring to fruition) a successful future.

You can’t know. 

We do what we can when we’re rolling through life.  Sometimes we guess.  Sometimes we make an educated choice.  Sometimes we just throw in where we can because we just don’t have the resources to do anything else.  Sometimes, even though we’ve carefully planned and considered, the choices we make are still not the best ones.  But all we can do is keep on rolling forward and hoping for the best, correcting the course when possible, and just surviving.

No one ever really told me that.  Living is mostly just surviving, and hopefully finding ways to enjoy surviving.

Maybe I’m setting the bar too low, but I sort of have to think that’s as much a definition of success as anything else.

In this, I am grateful to have so many successful friends.  All of them, in fact.  Surviving, and often times damned well enjoying it.

Posted by Liberty on 01/17 at 04:50 PM
Posted under: See-Through

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