While on what can be a very long journey indeed, the one of job hunting or trying to create a job for myself if nobody will give me one, I found that I was asking myself, perhaps not surprisingly ‘Where exactly am I headed, what is it that I want …indeed how will I know when and if I arrive ?
Oddly enough I don’t necessarily think that success .’Is being ‘happy’. Even if we have the security of enough money to pay the bills, therefore secure housing, good health and a great family and friends, happiness is not a permanent state. We can all have a bad day, even the most successful of us.
I think it can involve meeting some of our goals that we set ourselves at various points in our lives. I mean, I do believe that because I hoped for it so much, I would have considered myself more successful had I been happily married and had children, however, that didn’t happen but it doesn’t mean my life is a complete failure, it means instead that we move the goalposts and life can still be a success, just differently to how we first planned and imagined it. This suggests that success is a point we can be always travelling to, and comes in stages rather than somewhere where we arrive, then stop like on the bus. Success too is a very relative concept, what is successful, or at least feels it for us might not be success at all to people we come into contact with. This can be very difficult and painful for us when we feel, or indeed are made painfully aware that we have not met the hopes and wishes that someone had for us, when they cared for us very much, like a family member or a friend who feels that we have let them down. This can have very serious consequences because trying to put it right, make amends can result in a situation even worse…
Many years ago, I had been very much cared for by an older woman at the church I attended, who along with her family did everything she could to ease my situation and life made stressful for me by difficult family circumstances. However, she truly believed that the answer to every woman’s problems was a husband. Actually, I admit to perhaps these days being a bit old fashioned in this respect, because I do feel that a happy marriage can be one of the most enriching and beneficial things for a woman. However, I also have come to the conclusion that it truly is a state not intended for every woman, and there can be no bigger mistake than to try to force it by settling for whoever comes along, or happens to be available just so that you can get married. Sadly, this person died without ever having seen me married and I felt a huge sense of failure at having somehow let her down, and that I had not come up to the mark.
Many, many years later, in spite of some might have thought the odds having been stacked against me, I had bought a home, which was something that my parents didn’t even consider they had a right to aim for, and it was their lot in life to be lifelong renters, and I had achieved some considerable professional success. I had always wanted to teach, and did have the potential for university, however, family circumstances prevented further education. This is what I mean by the fact that success can very often mean having to adjust to a detour in out lives from what we first planned, and I had been a pretty successful nursery nurse…in fact life was good.
Then I along with some engineered assistance from the elderly match maker met HIM!! The one. Come to think of it he had obviously moved the goalposts a bit too because he had been a qualified structural engineer but after a history of health problems was driving a mini bus for a local charity …regarding the ‘health ‘problems’ I took the view of a good Christian girl ..There but for the grace of God go I
Actually, there had been several the ones, when I was younger and might indeed have lived the dream of husband and babies, but I had always known that I would have to pay for my own wedding, which I was not in a position to do when I was younger, and perhaps most of all I avoided every chance of marriage, and I certainly had the chances, because I dreaded having to introduce my intended to my mother who would consider it her duty to inform him of the big mistake he was making and while I was living in bed sits complete with elderly landlady I could never risk any relationship ending up with me pregnant, And quite likely homeless. Needless to say either from me getting rid of them as soon as a relationship became serious or them being a bit fed up with the virginal church goer, I either avoided or missed the married state
I started worshiping at my new local church and met another elderly lady (several in fact) determined to find ‘a lovely woman like me’ as she was telling everyone I was a husband. I admit I needed very little encouragement, a weakness for tall dark and handsome men saw to that, and at ‘six feet three’ to my ‘five two’, he certainly met the bill. So much so that I even managed to kid him as well as myself that a healthy preference for fish and chicken over burgers meant that like him I was a vegetarian!! Six months later, with the elderly match maker having survived a near death experience which involved the tall dark husband to be and myself taking care of her, and her insisting that we must hurry up and get married because she wasn’t going to see Christmas…she was giving me away and I was married, no longer having to worry about paying for the wedding…as I said a little earlier life was good for me, true I had to pass on some goals but I was doing OK, and the church and his mother all helped….
Six weeks later I was on my own, still the virginal church goer and six years later saw me in poor health, no longer fit enough for my career and on benefits, up to my eyes in debt and coming out of the marriage penniless, in order to avoid going to court for a financial split decided by a judge. Where I would have had to sell the flat I had worked so hard to achieve owning in order to give my ‘husband’ in name only ( and I shall leave the facts to your own conclusions) his half share, to which in spite of only having shared a home together for six weeks he was entitled..
At the time of the marriage I was already 41, children were no longer a reasonable certainty on my part and a definite no no, on the part of my beloved , I had struggled for many years to achieve the financial security I had with the purchase of the flat and money in the bank and in all considered sensibility. In hindsight of course I really believe that I should have protected my assets and remained single. marriage for me was just not meant to be.
My experiences, really have made me consider that success has to consist of goals which are set by, and yes, adjusted too, when and if necessary by you yourself. I have come to the conclusion that this is right because only you really know your circumstances and what is actually even possible and or sensible or you in those circumstances. I do not really see how other people can say what the right signs of success are for someone else. It is true that the media defines success and gives us blueprints of what it should be, but for example, for a person with special needs it can be that getting and holding down a job of any kind at all is fantastic success, and it can certainly be that personal success is something very different indeed to what earlier in life you thought it was going to be.
- Let’s Get Hitched! (womanlywoman.com)
- Winifred M. Reilly: 35 Things I’ve Learned In 35 Years Of Marriage (huffingtonpost.com)
- Marriage: A View From the Outside (scribeklkw.wordpress.com)
- Will You Make a Success of Your Marriage? (kellyjgrace.com)