7.17.2009

Success in Life


It's an age old question. Great philosophers down to humble thinkers ponder it. To some of us we want to scream and rip out our hair trying to reply. Many people believe they have the answer while to most of us the answer is as clear as the foggy sphere of the universe.

What is success in life?

Is it being in the throws of a fascinating career? Earning lot's of money? Having people to love? Traveling the Earth's farthest distances? Discovering a scientific secret?

I've said it many a time and I'll attest to it as long as I possibly can - life is hard, but life in your 20s is even harder.

Not only during this time are you beginning to uncover the mysterious details of your own personality, you are expected to have life figured out. You're supposed to know what you want and it's at this point that people begin to put you in one of two categories: successful or not.

Who started this notion and why?!

I, in less than a month, will be 24 - that's well into what one might call your "mid 20s." I am a true 20 something. Thus far I would say I've had a pretty successful life. All the goals I set for myself I've conquered and with fairly adequate ease. I went to my dream college. Got a degree in journalism. Lived and traveled abroad. Was published several times. Was blessed with a huge and amazing support system.

However, I feel like the deeper I venture into my 20s the more despondent I become. I have nothing tying me down, yet I have no direction. I'm unemployed and living with my parents. I have no idea what I want to do or where I want to go. I'm broke and in debt. Even simple things, like old hobbies seem lost as I discover new things about what I like and dislike.

The world tells me that all doors are open and the world is mine to conquer, but in spite of that I've never felt so completely goalless, indecisive and hopeless. If there's such thing as unsuccessfulness in life (though I think that is still up for debate) it probably feels about like this.

I know, I've only been home from Cambodia for about week. Everyone tells me that I need to be patient, let things sink in and give the job search some time, especially with the way the economy is right now.

But that's so not me. I'm a results girl. I set goals and I achieve goals.

The goalless thing is hard.

So to turn this pity party into something more constructive, I'm introducing the next phase of my "UNBELIEVABLE Adventure."

The adventure is my 20s. During this adventure I will explore the many aspects that make these years probably the most exciting yet most difficult time of life and share them with you on my blog. I'll account my incessant job search and relay how I cope with life as a struggling ______ (insert to-be-determined profession here), especially as "economic crises" make it difficult. I'll share with you my hobbies and my new discoveries of life. I also hope that this space will serve as a forum where we can discuss our views on difficult issues. Perhaps you can share your own 20-something hangups or tell me how things have changed when you were of that decade.

Let's kick off this new adventure with the question at hand:

What is success in life?

Each day I ask myself this question, the more I believe it's getting to share the little moments with people you love. Being able to look at old photographs and saying "Those were happy times." Getting butterflies in your stomach when you smell the familiar scent of years past. Having hope for the future. Knowing that the person you once were is the strongest influence on the person you will soon be. And, of course, always having a new adventure to look forward to.

I know this is only a part of the answer, but it's the chunk I've been able to wrap my head around thus far. I'm still working on the heart to follow. What's your take on a successful life?

Photo courtesy Michelle.

3 comments:

KBrock said...

Rachael, you should be a professional blogger because you put my thoughts into words for all the world to read. Or write a book!

I am going through something similar to you, but I am employed and seeking something new (P.S. don't write anything about me looking for another job on my blog as my boss reads it, haha). The benefit to being unhappy at your job is, well, money still is coming in and I don't have to live with my parents. (not that anything is wrong with that, you save up a bunch that way). My job search is frustrating due to the fact that I travel the country non-stop and any potential jobs can't wait until I have a weekday off or are unavailable for weekend interviews. I have no adventure to look forward to because I'm stuck in my current one. Obviously we are ones who love to travel, but when travel becomes your life, it's not the escape it once was and you want the little things in life like going on with friends on a Tuesday night for dinner or waking up on a Thursday in your own bed.

Success for a 20-something? For me, it is being in a job which may not be perfect, but is going somewhere and I'm always learning. Making enough money to live the way I want, slowly pay off my debt from college days, and save a bit. But most of all, spending quality time with friends and family when you get the chance. When you're proud of yourself, you are successful no matter what the job title, salary amount, or situation is.

I’m just an ordinary college grad... said...

no amazing ideas....
But I loved reading this. It's real and something I'm sure to face come November.

alison said...

I love this idea! I feel very similar things.

Success is... having a place to sleep, enough to eat, good friends, and a calm spirit...

I think the calm spirit part is the key!