Updated: May 30, 2019
In my twenties, I had a very narrow version of what being “successful” meant, back then I imagined myself making boat loads of money, having a beautiful family with organic, meals on the table every night, maintaining a clean, large home with a bright red door, new cars, etc. etc. You get the picture, right?
In our twenties, it feels like the world is at our fingertips, like we can still have and achieve it all. Days are spent “grinding” and evenings and weekends are chased away in a haze of alcohol and social engagement, at least that’s what my twenties were like. Even though now (two kids and a husband later) I look back at those days with some nostalgia and yearn for the illusive HOURS of free time I had (even though according to myself, I was VERY busy, those 2 hours at the gym I HAD to get in everyday ;), I realize I wasn’t really happy.
Remember that old saying, “the grass is always greener” – well it’s totally true. But I think we are more susceptible to believe it when we’re younger, with ions of time ahead of us. However, now as I enter my mid-thirties, I’ve realized two truths:
1.) you can never truly be happy unless you will yourself to be content whatever your circumstances, and
2.) most of our ideas of success are way off the mark and lead us to be unfulfilled and always wanting more.
Now my first point, that one about contentment, should not be used as an excuse not to do anything or to give up on your dreams, but it should remind you that just because you don’t have what you think you deserve, or just because you aren’t making enough money or advancing in your job, (the list really is endless) – just because life didn’t turn out the way you envisioned it in your twenties doesn’t mean you are loser or “unsuccessful” or that you deserve to be unhappy, it means you need to check yourself. By that I mean, you need to start practicing gratefulness for the things you do have and make a plan to start working towards the things that will make you happy. Let me give you an example, I have a friend, let’s call her Jennifer who wanted a family more than anything in the world, but she never met the right guy. Instead of sitting around feeling sorry for herself or lamenting that all of her friends were getting married/having babies, she started the process of adoption. She now is Mommy to the most beautiful and happy little boy, and yes, it’s not easy being a single parent and she still hopes to meet someone, she still has that dream, but she also has enough confidence to go out and get what she wants.
Your dream is probably different, which brings me to my second point, successful people are the ones who chase their dreams – the real ones, not the ones that impress other people or the ones they think they need to achieve to “be happy.” Successful people figure out what it is that makes them happy, truly happy and fulfilled and they commit to it, one hundred percent all in commit to that dream, whatever their circumstances. And the “whatever the circumstances part” is hard, maybe that means waking up at 5 a.m. and writing that book you dreamed about or leaving your job to take one that pays less but gives you more time with your family. Whatever the dream, it takes time and effort to achieve– AND you should never let anyone make you feel less than because you don’t fit into their perfect version of success.
Success looks different for each of us, because God gave us all unique talents and gifts. Don’t squander yours away by believing less of yourself for any reason. Get out there, work hard, believe in yourself, believe in your dream, and most of all try your best to enjoy the ride because you never know where you will end up if you limit yourself to chasing the goals or expectations of others – you’ll never get the time back, but at least you can say you were true to yourself and your dream.