A note on remembering what success looks like

A note on remembering what success looks like
corn exchange leeds at Christmas

I freaking love a new year’s resolution. I love that the weird inbetween time that falls in the middle of Christmas and new year where you don’t really know what day it is becomes a reflective period where you look back at the last 12 months and think about what you achieved, what you maybe fell short of achieving and what you want to do next. I think goal setting is great, and whilst I don’t think falling for the advertising that sells the ‘new year, new me’ wonder products should be celebrated, a kick up the arse towards self-improvement definitely should.

It’s at this time of year though that we spend a lot of time catching up, particularly with our peers. Our school friends, friends from our first jobs, friends from home, people who are our age. People who we might not see again until the next reunion in the local pub. And it’s at this time, where we whether we like it or not, find ourselves setting benchmarks of where we should be at in life. It’s where we compare and contrast to the people who we grew up being put against at school. From who was the most popular to who had the best grades and every other childhood comparison inbetween.

But when you’re in your twenties, it’s so important to remember that every single one of you and your friendship groups has gone down a different path. It’s been a long old time since you sat at the back of an A Level maths class wondering why the hell you took such a difficult subject when you could have taken something else (I can confirm that at no point in my fashion degree did I need to use any sort of equation).

Since leaving sixth form, I’ve got a degree, worked my way up to having manager in my job title in a relevant industry, moved to another city and bought a flat. One of my best friends took a year out, got a degree, spent a year in London, traveled the world, came back and has just had a gorgeous baby girl. Another of my friends left school, did an apprenticeship and now has a shitload of qualifications, a job she loves and no student debt. The three of us went to the same school, had the same part time job at Next and now we’re living entirely different lives.

There isn’t a benchmark of where you ‘should’ be in life. There isn’t a time limit, a deadline and most importantly, just because your friend has achieved something you haven’t, doesn’t mean that you’ve failed, it means they have succeeded. And their success has no direct impact on your life. It shouldn’t take away from your successes, nor should it highlight what you haven’t quite achieved.

Success isn’t defined by your job, your home, your income, your relationship status or your material possessions. It’s defined by your happiness. Your version of success isn’t the same as anyone else’s, so this Christmas when you’re sat around a table in the pub you spent your teenage years in, remember that what everyone else is doing isn’t a direct comparison to your life choices. It isn’t a GCSE and you haven’t all taken the same paper to be graded at the end.

Do you fall into the trap of comparing yourself to other people? Let me know in the comments.

1 comment

  1. LOVE this Lizi, So true.
    We all create our own happiness and success. We're all different.