Shifting The Definition of “Success”

by justine

Today was ordinary. Actually, by my productive / perfectionistic tendencies, it was a home run. I did my work, hit the gym, attended meetings, checked everything off my to do list, exercised the dog, made a home-cooked meal, and didn’t cry once. I charmed people, didn’t tailgate, cleaned up my messes and it’s not even 8pm. Measured against the flawless version of myself that I think exists somewhere, I came pretty darn close today.

But did I live?

When I’m worried about how I’m being perceived, am I honest? Negative. When I push through things, do I really experience them? Nope. When I am focused on doing instead of being, something is lost. Clearly.

I feel luxurious now as I sit at my kitchen table, still expanded from our Sunday brunch, sipping my red lion tea and composing this little message to the universe. While I was surprised at the fluctuations of my mood all day, it was a successful day by ridiculous standards.

So, I don’t know if I want to: explain why I think it’s frustrating that I can have such a successful day and still feel empty OR that a day can’t be deemed successful if it was so…shallow? Living is messy, right? Feelings do not come out in tiny organized rows of goodness. They wave and flutter and dump buckets on us when we least expect it.

Maybe it’s not healthy to focus on the lacking in my life but earlier I wrote this: I want big, heavy, place markers that are passion and creativity and different. I want my days to be full of experiences and making and interacting with people.

Today was not that.

I’m not here to beat myself up. I know living the life I want to live is within my power, that I’ve spent 20+ years living this way and I can’t change over night (in fact, change is probably the wrong word – shift may be better).

Yes – shift. Shift into presence. Shift into truly listening. Shift my lips into a smile, relax my jaw. Shift into reading and writing, instead of TV and mindless eating. Scoot my way over to a piano or guitar. Slide into a hot bath or bed for a mid-day nap. Make a move to revise what I define as a “successful day”.

The 1st paragraph is my current definition. The quote from my journal farther down is where I’m headed. I want my days to be creative, loving, passionate, wild, enjoyable, present, full of laughter and tears (deeper expressions of emotions).

Am I asking too much? Can a day where I don’t run an errand but write a poem instead fulfill that want? Will my life satisfaction increase if I focus on being more than doing?

The shift will occur when I take action. This blog is action. Writing morning pages is action. The intense pull to take pictures or make collages is a call to action.

The answer lies somewhere in allowing myself to create. I think I’m ready.