I found this tiny notepad in my purse pocket while I was traveling. Ever since I can remember I’ve carried small notepads around with me to jot ideas and thoughts down at a moments notice. I had packed one for my trip, but this one was different. It was old, worn, with every page full.
I opened it up to read it, quickly realizing that it was from a few years ago, not that long after I had lived in Florence. It’s full of randomness, to most people. Lists, thoughts, quotes, poems, you name it. On one page there was a list – it’s titled “To Lead A Successful Life”. My initial thought was that my opinion of success looks very different than it used to and this list probably would be reflective of that. And yet, as I read, I realized in fact it was a complete reflection of the life I have now.
Fall is a time of year that ensues a lot of reflection. For me it’s a period where I can really come back to myself, and since it’s also the time of my birth, it’s a sort of “new year” for me.
Birthday’s have a way of garnering self-reflection in itself, let alone the time of year. As I come off the heels of my trip away in Europe for two weeks I am both massively grateful and contemplative of so many things in my life.
As I traveled I experienced the feeling of being alone, without actually being lonely. There is a difference. I enjoyed being able to do what I wanted to, to nurture my own self-care rituals and practices and explore the world through my own wandering curiosity. And yet I imagine what that same trip would have been like had I shared parts of it with someone I loved.
Instead I got to share it with myself, a special time and relationship that needed some extra nourishment. I’m glad to be at a point in my life where the thought of adding someone into it feels exciting instead of dreading that I’m going to be suffocated by a relationship or lose myself. Building and nurturing the interpersonal has made it so that opportunity is only stronger and truth be told, this is a rather huge deal for me. And with this list I had written I wondered where that may show up, only to find, it didn’t really!
Getting older has this way of making us seriously consider where we are on our life’s path and I can tell you as I read that list back to myself that I created a few years ago, I certainly thought it would have no congruence with the now. How wrong I was.
How to Lead A Successful Life
– Live in a foreign country
– Cry often, love more
– Try freelancing for a little and/or absolutely love your job
– Write regularly on a blog and maybe a book!
– Always be involved in helping people who have disabilities
– Never let it be about money
– Never stop traveling
– Surround yourself with people who love and inspire you and who you love and inspire
It’s as if I wrote this list yesterday. The same values of the life I want run deeply through every cell of my body. That sense of “feeling it in your bones” felt very literal for me as I read this to myself. And then I thought, how lucky I am to be able to live my life in a way that truly feels successful to me in such an authentic way. This may not be your success list, but that’s the entire point – it’s mine – and that’s what makes it feel all the more gratifying to know I am actually living it.
Defining our own feeling and understanding of success can be huge in fostering a healthy relationship with yourself. It has changed so much for me as a recovering people pleaser!
Now as I prepare for the very end of my year this week and the start of anew I am letting go of the thoughts that make me feel that I am not “this at age this”. I am holding on to instead, my version of a successful life and the hope that in the future I’ll be with a partner who’s equally as enthusiastic about sharing this awesome experience of living.
Do you have a list? Or what would your list say?
Tons of Libra love,