How Do You Judge Success?

A Few Days In…

You look over your shoulder and ask, “Is the time of this trip spent successfully?” I’ve done it on vacations, business trips, and even just a simple “exit” from the rat race.

Some gauge success by how much money they make, what they drive, who they married, which school they attended, and a bevy of other measurements that mean something in their world.

I measure by a different yardstick.

It’s like planning an escape trip. A little pleasure with business. Some want their “trip” to be so busy that there is no time to rest. I want to rest so much there is no time to be busy!

This time, it’s hanging out with mom and dad. Aging into my 60’s, and them into their 80’s, I realize we have so little time left to enjoy each other. My mom’s parents were gone in their 80’s, my dad’s in their 70’s. 

There is no time to waste!

Is the trip successful? I think so. No. I know so. We’ve had two wild days of tripping around the familiar, visiting family members I may never have had an opportunity to visit. An uncle that produces some favorite memories of the past. Several cousins, and elder aunts, both in their 90’s, who reminisced with me about those good ol’ days. Graveyards full of memories. Searching for graveyards to make new memories. Dirt roads. Back roads. A wave and a nod to drivers coming the opposite way.

No real schedule to our madness. 

If we are to measure success, we must have a yardstick to measure against.

Growing up we measured our height on a door jamb. Every so often, maybe at birthday times, we would mark our height, date it, initials, and ooh and aah about how much taller we were this year.

Often, our success was found in the Report Card. Dreaded at times. Proudly displayed at others. It’s probably the teachers comments that show our progress more than the grades. After all, some test better than others.

Another way of success is found in our connection with the family. One of the greater joys is getting to connect with family and share what has passed through the years since the last time we met. 

It only makes me want to talk to them more. And more.

Thanks Henry, Stella, Bill, Edna, Robert, Eloise, Dana… I am enjoying the success of this trip. Thanks to mom and dad for being healthy enough to spread out a few hundred miles. Thanks to Vaughn and Gayla for opening their world for me to enjoy. 

The best measure of my success comes from my bride, and our kids and their families. Nearly 43 years married, and we are looking forward to the next 43 years… Really! That will be a great success story!!


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