As I begin my 30th year on this planet, I started thinking about my life so far, and my plans for the future. When I was in school, I remember teachers asking us what our future plans were - where we saw ourselves in 5, 10, 20 years and what we considered success. Looking back on my answers then, I would have to say that by those na´ve expectations, I could indeed consider myself successful. However, have I really achieved success?
When I was a child, I measured success by the amount of money I expected to make, whether I had a car and house, the type of friends I had and the type of activities I spent my free time on. I planned to have a good job (check), a good paycheck (check), a good place to live (sort of), a house (well, no, but I have a nice apartment), good friends (check) and a "high-class" lifestyle (depends on the day :). Although I have not met all my goals, I have far exceeded some others. Yes, by those childish standards, I could consider myself successful.
These days, though, I think I measure success not by how much money I make, nor by how much money I can spend in pursuing the perfect lifestyle. I measure success by my faith and walk with God, by the depth of relationship I have with friends and family, and by whether I can consider myself truly happy. Sure, I'd like to lose a few pounds - heck, I always wanted to be that bombshell walking down the street - and I'd like to be higher on the corporate foodchain, but will those things make me happy? Almost daily I am reminded by a special friend of mine how blessed I am to have such a friend - she considers me her angel for grounding her in the faith, but in reality, she is more my angel -- reminding me how much more God really has to do with my life. It is so easy to become cynical and even bitter and depressed about the little problems in life, and miss the big picture completely.
As I start a new year in life, I will try to focus more on the big picture. I will be happier with who I am and not who I wish I could be. I will spend more time with friends and family and less time with my computer. I will do more for others and less for myself. Most of all, I will remember to pray daily and work to better my relationship with God.