Growing up, my sense of “success” was, as it is for many, rooted in fiscal accomplishment. There are indeed other aspects to success for me that aren’t monetarily based, but those are a post for a different time….
Success for me wasn’t actually ever driven around a particular dollar amount, but rather around the lifestyle I was able to afford. Among the touch points of achieving lifestyle levels were milestones like my first apartment, my first owned condo, and my first owned home. But also among those milestones were smaller touch points that held an equal sense of accomplishment like parking my car in my own garage, having my own driveway, and oddly enough mowing my own lawn. I found a great sense of achievement and attainment of success when I mowed my own lawn for the first time back in 2005; one of those badges of honour which ticked off an unseen and unacknowledged check box of adulthood in my mind.
Monday night I checked off another one of those innocuous boxes that serve to prove some sort of success and adulthood in my head: We hired a gardener to maintain our landscaping. Sounds pretty mild to most of you, I’m sure, but for me this is huge. It is effectively me paying someone else to do something I could (but don’t) do. See, when I was growing up, my family never paid someone else to do something we could do ourselves, aside from one odd year in which we had a maid service and felt like I was living someone else’s life out of a TV episode. Growing up , things like maid service and landscapers were for “rich people”, not us. Mind you we were solidly middle to upper middle class depending on the year, so it isn’t like we were dirt poor… still, TV told me these things were for rich people, and my own experiences of doing it all ourselves affirmed that fact to me.
While Jean and I are nowhere near rich either, as of Monday I now feel slightly more “adult” and tad bit more successful in my life. I realized that for some strange reason gardening has been a central theme in my yardstick of adulthood and success. Silly, the little things that have an impact on your own perspective… Which got me to thinking: I can’t be the only one who has weird little personal markers of success or adult hood. I am not so different as to have this little quirk solely unique to me.
So, what ARE *your* personal yard sticks of success and adulthood? What were those silly little things that stuck out to you as a marker or milestone which others may blow past without second thought?