Adulthood – What is success?

It’s funny to think that this time last year, I had just moved to a new city and had decided to embark on a brand new adventure that I wasn’t 100% prepared for.  I’ve obviously had a lot of time to think about it and reflect on the experience, especially now that I’m well past a year into this new experience, that isn’t really new anymore.  It’s been a very interesting thing to think about it and very humbling to reflect on what drove me to this point. As I’ve gotten older, I have to admit that I’ve become more and more unsure of what I want to do and what I want to be when I “grow up.” It’s a strange thing to say but even as a kid, I was always lacking some direction and it’s become more and more evident as I’ve gotten older.

I came to this realization when I started looking for jobs last year and people in interviews would ask me things like “what are you looking for in your next position?” Or “why are you looking for a new job?” Or even better yet, “Why do you want this job?”

Thinking back on it now, those were the hardest questions to answer because I didn’t quite know how to answer them in the beginning.  I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, I don’t know what industry I want to work in and I don’t know what my ambitions are.  When I was a child, I very distinctly remember having a conversation with someone about what success meant to me.  And at the age of 10, success meant that I wouldn’t live paycheck to paycheck.  Does this mean that I was and still am an unambitious person? Maybe in some sense.  But realistically, I don’t think so.  I just don’t think I’m that picky about what I”m looking for in those next steps of my life and my career.

My ambitions aren’t focused around making some huge salary, being the richest person in the world or even getting to the top of the ladder at some company.  My ambitions are more based around an every day achievable level of happiness that then transcends into the rest of my life.  I’ve thought long and hard about this and maybe this is driven by what I’ve experienced over the last few years, but I don’t want to spend the rest of my life worrying about retirement or working so hard that I can’t enjoy life now.  I want to work in an environment that challenges me, makes me happy, allows me to leave an impact on the world, and pushes me outside of my comfort zone.  If that means climbing up the corporate ladder, so be it.  If it means working super long hours, I can get on board with that.  If it means, doing monotonous tasks, I can do that too.  But I want to enjoy each minute that I have and the flip side of that, I want a job that affords me the ability to continue my passions of traveling.

I feel like I am successful because I am not living paycheck to paycheck.  I do not worry about where my next meal will come from and I have the ability to travel, albeit on a budget, but I can still wander aimlessly around the world and see the beauty that the world has to offer.  I can’t do it every day, but it makes me appreciate those moments that I can do it.  Maybe I’ve hit a point in my life where I am too simple minded or making my life too simplified but regardless, this is what makes me feel successful.  I don’t know if these are good answers to the questions that I would get in an interview and I’m sure it comes off as unambitious but… this is the truth.  I want day to day happiness rather than the hoping that one day I’ll be happy with my life.  I like the immediate satisfaction that I know I’m making the right choices to appreciate life today and that I’m not always waiting for tomorrow to come to appreciate what I have.

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