Saturday, November 17, 2012

Defining Success

I am currently finishing up Waging Heavy Peace by Neil Young and came across a passage I will paraphrase (mainly because I can't find the page to make a proper quote).

If you have a lot of money that doesn't make you a success.  That just makes you rich.

Since most North Americans define how successful you are by how much money you have, this observation may need some reflection.

I had to come to grips with how I defined success a number of years ago.  People would comment to me that I must be successful.  My gut reaction was generally - and privately - to wonder why, if I was so successful, so poor.  As in lacking money.

I went through quite a bad patch for a while until I finally realized that money, having it or not, was just one way to measure success.

Being at craft shows in the company of other like minded people got me thinking about why I do what I do.  Ultimately the answer is that I can't NOT weave.  Today I mentioned to someone that I had bought a Margaret lever loom as my 'retirement' loom and she laughed and said something along the line that when I retired from weaving I was going to be weaving?  I said that when your life is all about doing something you love, why would you stop?  She agreed that that made perfectly good sense....

When they write my epithet, if they say I loved to weave and pursued my love with passion, then I think I will consider that my life was lived well and that I was a success.


Anonymous said...

You've got it. This past week I just met two wonderful young weavers, Joey and Jaime, who have realized this at a younger age than most of us. We all need to have enough $ to live a reasonable life, but amassing wealth is not the object.

Laura said...

I used to work for a municipality - I was very well paid. I took blood pressure meds, and was depressed. After developing a severe allergy to fungus (spores in the air, even) along with mold and mildew, I had to leave the area and move to somewhere much drier.

I now make a lot less (a LOT less), rent my abode, but I have my animals, I have time to do whatever I want, and the work that I do to bring in necessary $$ is very flexible.

I feel very blessed that out of such chaos has come such peace.

charlotte said...

I've also reflected a lot on why I do what I do. And I also left a well-paid high status job.But I just couldn't bear the thought of doing this job (which bored me terribly) for at least another 30 years! I also wanted to be more at home when the kids came home from school.
But now I do it because I love it, and because it's a craft with a tradition of many thousands years, and it's important to keep the knowledge alive and to continue weaving.

heather said...

im just happy that i can go fill up my car with gas or my cart with groceries without having to check my bank balance first. when i can put my yarn order in too, i feel down right wealthy.i am already rich with family and friends and good intentions. i am a pretty simplistic person.if you have "enough" for your family and "enough" to give to others you are sucessful

DebbieB said...

Love this post, Laura.

Anonymous said...

Laura, you have a good head on your shoulders. I agree success is how each of us define the word for ourselves. Although we are not rich in monetary means we are rich in the joy we find in life and our friends and family. Weaving is my passion and my outlet for my creative soul to shine without it I would be lost.

Peg Cherre said...

I'm one more person who left a well-paid high-status job that I hated. Now I am DEFINITELY poorer financially, but SO much happier! It's a decision I'd make again in a heartbeat.

Gotta love Neil Young!