A while ago, I was speaking to a friend when he surprised me, he told me I was successful. It stopped me in my tracks, because I haven’t classed myself as that in quite some time, in fact, since graduating I’ve felt more ordinary than I ever have in my life! At times, I’ve even felt like a failure.
Part of this is the struggles I’ve had with my confidence (it took a large dip after breaking my spine) and the other part, who knows? On paper, and to many people I know, they do believe I’m a successful 22 year old. I have a job, a degree, a home and a stable relationship.It ticks all the boxes, doesn’t it? Which I why I feel so bad whenever I say the words out loud, I’m not doign well enough.
I’ve always had a problem where I both want and need to be one of the best. I was talented both musically and academically growing up, apart from driving I found a way to make things appear as if they came easily (they didn’t). Despite my struggles I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me, for the things I’d gone through, so I worked as hard as I possibly could. I won awards, competitions etc. I felt like I was going places.
After graduating, for the first time in your life, your achievements aren’t given prizes or certificates, you’re not given feedback and a grade on things you spend hours on. So I guess in that respect, it isn’t unusual for someone to feel that they’re not doing as well, because you have to jugde it for yourself (particularly hard when you are an anxious person).
So I sit here and I try and see that I am successful, I might not be where I want to be at the end but it doesn’t mean I’m not. I think for many of us, that may be it. We confuse success with where we want to end up. I can only speak for myself, but that’s where I think I’ve been going wrong. I don’t have a house, a book and my life sorted out. Who the hell does in their 20s?
Maybe this is where I say something cliche like ‘success is a state of mind’, maybe it is. All I know is that it means so many things, to so many people. I’m flattered to think that my friend think I’m successful, I hope that someday soon I feel that way too!
What does success mean to you? Do you feel successful? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @chloemetzger