"Success is a hard construct to work with but what I have noticed is that when we start using success in our meaning it changes the person you are"
- A friend of mine
I've spent the past few months ruminating and trying to figure out for myself what success is. What will I do, when will it happen, and how will it happen? It being the defining moment, or more likely the defining period which will allow me to decide I achieved the pinnacle I've been chasing.
Realistically I'll be running a life long marathon.
I think the descriptor 'successful' is lacking. I also thing it's taken on a very superficial connotation. When you see or hear the word success, what images or feelings does your mind conjure? I'm working on it, but till recently it to me created images of public acclaim, an income that puts one in the upper stratums of the socioeconomic ladder, going to certain schools. You can probably figure out the rest.
Having all those things is great, especially financial freedom. I don't think anyone would be opposed to that. For some, checking off those boxes would define them as successful.
While public acclaim isn't something I'm concerned about, I have really been struggling with the idea that I maybe won't go to a school, or have an income or title that will illicit the reaction of 'wow she is so successful'.
I've shared this with a number of people close to me, but undergrad didn't exactly go great. Yah, I had a lot I was dealing with which subsequently affected various things I know could have otherwise gone so much better. But why would future schools or employers care? I know I am and was capable, but unfortunately that didn't translate on paper. So now I'm constantly procrastinating looking at grad school programs or contacting the schools because I'm terrified. A solid majority of my friends got into med school. I have friends who got into acclaimed schools and jobs. So now I'm terrified. I'm not gonna live up to the picture of success that's been painted all around me.
Not just by my friends. Even the 'success' of strangers, people I read about on the internet, whose LinkedIns I look at, who've done all these amazings things and so young. Meanwhile I'm going to be 24 in a month and I have no idea what I'll do next. And because of the type of person I am, the constant panic-inducing anxiety I feel, means I just procrastinate and procrastinate. I did email my first school today though, so that's something.
All of this was my state of mind, and still strongly dominates my current state of mind. However, being in India for the past 4 months shifted my perspective a bit. When I'm dead and gone, do I want people to remember me for the job I had or school I went to or amount of money I had? Maybe to an extent. "Chandrika worked hard and achieved her goals and did well".
I've realized that I moreso would want them to remember the kind of person I was. In a perfect world yah maybe I'd be an amazing person, who also checked off all the aforementioned boxes.
I've decided that I'd much rather be remembered as someone who cared (about things that we all eventually end up realizing actually matter), who was happy, who was surrounded by good people, who did something good for others. Hopefully, also someone who had lots of dogs with whom she had a lovely life. The most significant realization however was that I want to have spent my life with family and friends, even it that means sacrificing certain things. I think we're losing touch with the importance of that in order to fulfill this desire to live what has become a glitzy, glorified, social media shareable life. What does any of that matter if you were alone, or only shared it with shallow relationships.
Unfortunately, my entire family outside my nuclear one, lives in India. Being at home (for me home #1 is India even though I wasn't born or brought up there), made me realized how much I was missing out on. How much being around my family made me successful.
This post is long enough though, so I'll finish in part 3b.
(Is it just me or does breaking it into parts conjure the feeling of multiple part exam questions haha)