By Cynthia Herron
Today I wanted to approach the elephant in the room.
Because success is often a popular topic at writer’s meetings and conferences, obviously, it’s something that’s near and dear to our hearts. While most of us have varying opinions of what success looks like, we can probably agree on one thing. We wish we had more time. More time to realize our dreams and accomplish our goals. More time to write all the wonderful stories we’d like. More time to master success.
Here’s the reality.
There comes a point in life, maybe during a career crisis or a season of self-reflection, our confidence dips. Our belief wilts.
Is it too late?
Has my chance already come and gone?
Has the moment of opportunity slipped past, despite my desire to move forward?
For the baby boomer generation, advancing years are a reality. There’s no denying the clock’s steady beat. No getting around extended pauses.
Love it or hate it, those pauses impale our trajectory as time ticks away.
As we consider long-held goals, our sense of urgency mushrooms.
How’d it happen?
When did our hopes and dreams take a backseat to bigger musts?
Was it when we worked sixty-hour weeks to put bread on the table?
When we wiped snotty noses, sopped up potty, kissed boos-boos, and chauffeured kiddos?
Was it when catastrophe called and crises beckoned?
When normal met weird in a tug-of-war match?
All that and more.
While boomers may celebrate freedom from youthful constraints, new patterns emerge. We weigh new options and embrace or deny possibilities.
We move forward or stagnate.
We applaud the reasons we can.
We mourn reasons we can’t.
With quiet envy, we may see others meet and master similar goals we’d hoped to attain. Things we were certain, one day, would come to fruition for us, too.
The thing is success doesn’t always happen the perfect way we picture it. Sometimes, it’s messy and filled with faux pas. Sometimes, it’s poignant and achingly sweet.
Still, sometimes, success requires gut-wrenching lows to elevate to new highs.
And sometimes—yes, I’m going there—to truly know success we must grab hold with both hands and immerse ourselves in the glorious, painstaking, mud-filled journey.
Like age, success is relative. At the very least, it’s a milestone-marker. At best, it’s the reward for hard work expended—judged, perhaps, by the world, but only as significant as we, ourselves, allow it to be.
As millennials struggle with identities and self-reliance, their mamas and daddies who raised and loved them struggle with the opposite. We know who we are and what we’ve sacrificed…and we’d do it again in a heartbeat.
Success isn’t easily defined and contained within boundaries. It doesn’t tiptoe on our doorstep and ask, “May I come in?”
Often, success is subtler than that.
It sidles up beside us.
Then, it whispers, “I’m here. Will you join me?”
Suddenly, years melt away.
Yesterday’s behind us.
We’ve weathered storms. We’ve rallied.
We can’t turn back the clock, but we can reinvent it.
No longer are we slaves to archaic thinking and societal dictates.
Success hasn’t left us at the starting gate. It’s merely waited for us to catch up.
There it is now.
Grab your laptop, your chocolate, and your new way of thinking.
What does success look like to you?
What are you doing to accomplish that?
*As originally appeared on my blog.
Cynthia Herron writes Heartfelt, Homespun Fiction from the beautiful Ozark Mountains. She is a 2017 ACFW Genesis Finalist, a 2016 ACFW Genesis (Double) Finalist, and a 2015 ACFW First Impressions Winner. Her work is represented by Sarah Freese @ WordServe Literary. “Cindy” loves to connect with friends at: http://www.authorcynthiaherron.com/