Success is a pony.


How do you define success? I find questions like this interesting; I read into them, and find a suggestion that there is perhaps, if not one true way, then a short list and I’m not getting it done.

Though that perhaps has less to do with the words themselves than who’s doing the asking.  

Success is a lot of things to a lot of people, but there are commonalities. Money. Fame – maybe. Power – probably. A home of one’s own. Professional success. Polite and well-adjusted children. Getting out of bed in the morning. A steady supply of food and water.

The dictionary definition of success is simple – it’s the achievement of a goal. What the goal is, the dictionary fails to specify and thus we stumble into part of the problem. We don’t know what goal we’re trying to meet.

Success is impossible if one has no performance parameters or end results in mind, which is often the way we seem to amble through life. I’m then surprised by a lack of concrete accomplishments, but really, that’s there are any is a miracle.  

You can’t hit the target you don’t hang.

How do I define success? Money is in there somewhere and I should really address that – I don’t have much and don’t see that changing any time soon, so perhaps I should stop making a robust saving and investment account a condition of feeling good about myself.

Popularity? Perhaps. It’s more that I hope the people in my life like me. My brain works hard to convince me they don’t, and that the world doesn’t, so perhaps that’s why this high-school-level yearning hangs on.

The love of family and friends? See above. Though with both popularity and love, I have to remember boundaries. Those are two areas in which they’re weak and I’m vulnerable.

Professional achievements? Once upon a time, maybe, before mental illness became my full-time job and much of my life. While other people were busy building careers, I built my eating disorder. I’ve held this job and that one, but they were only ever temporary passions and distractions that quickly became part and parcel of my pathology.

Say that phrase three times fast.

When compulsive behaviours and people-pleasing are part of your maladjustments, work can be a dangerous place.

The definition of success is also stage-related. Where you are in your life informs what you consider a success.

What I help to be important at eighteen is very different than what I consider important at fifty-three.

I’m in recovery from my eating disorder, so for me, part of success is maintaining that. I suspect the next step in my evolution will be doing away with the vast library of shoulds that hold me back, but that’s a project for another day.

Success is one step at a time. Unless you win the lottery, but I wouldn’t term that a success. “Success” smacks of effort and lottery wins are “sheer dumb luck.” [i]

When I was very young, success would’ve been a pony. I wanted one very much, a not uncommon yearning. A well-meaning family friend promised me one once, in an attempt to make me quiet. He didn’t have kids.

I asked him for that pony for years, apparently. Did you bring me my pony today?

Though perhaps now’s not a good time – I currently lack a stable.

[i] A quote by Professor McGonagall in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, though whether it’s book or movie remains unclear in the memory bank of my mind. Definitely hear it in Maggie Smith’s voice.

7 thoughts on “Success is a pony.

  1. The definition of success changes for me daily. Some days success is me loafing on the couch and watching trash TV. Some days it’s massively ambitious with an adrenaline-feuled massacre of my to-do list (preferably it’s personal, but most often it’s professional). Some days it’s making a bunch of phone calls (I HATE making phone calls). The goal post always seems to move for me to consider myself successful. For the record, I am successful in the grand scheme of things, but certainly don’t rest on my laurels having achieved what I’ve achieved—I can always be better and MORE successful. For overachievers like me, the fluidity of success is problematic—it seemingly can never be fully attained.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a lovely way of phrasing it – the fluidity of success.

      I hear you on the phone calls – I dread them so much, and I often end up sounding like an idiot because my anxiety gets going.

      “Thanks for calling.”
      “You too.” Argh.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.