The definition of success, for me, is very strongly rooted in not having to worry about certain things.
It includes being completely out of debt, being able to go buy something minor without having to save up for it, and being able to splurge and not worry.
We’re not there yet.
I realized recently that I’m having a hard time with my definition of success. The likelihood of being completely out of debt is not high; cars and houses get financed, and, while we are paying off the car quickly, if we ever want to buy a house again, we will be solidly in debt for years. At the moment, though, that’s not an issue. We’re renting and I’m happy with that. When we move, we will give notice and it won’t be a hassle. If we still owned the house, it would be much more complicated. I’m not sure when or if we will decide to buy another house, but it could be a long time. The next five or six years will be in one place and then we will probably be moving again. We won’t be settled for a while. I’m looking forward to the adventurous aspects of those years and I plan to take advantage of being somewhere new. We aren’t likely to buy a house in that time, though, because we don’t know how long we will be anywhere.
I’m trying to avoid being angry with myself for not being successful by my own definition at this point in my life. I know that it isn’t a reasonable definition, but we have been scrimping and saving for years now. Every paycheck is budgeted down to the penny. It would be very nice to have money rattling around at the end of the month. Not that we’re desperate; far from it. We have enough to cover everything we need. I just sometimes want to be frivolous, and that doesn’t fit very well right now.
I think, while paying off all debts is important, I need to focus on other successes. We have enough, despite being somewhat limited financially. I keep everything organized. We are seldom rushed and we enjoy our time together. Katja is happy and healthy, funny, and developing well. She’s learning new words on a daily basis (note to self: limit the use of the word “dammit!” while playing video games!) and she is almost always a pleasure to be around. Xander has completed his Master’s degree and I completed mine a while ago, so we’re pretty well educated. We have a decently behaved dog and a very sweet cat. We have at least a year to get everything organized for wherever we’ll end up next.
We’re not financially on top of the world, but we aren’t badly off, either. Under other definitions, though, we are successful. We are happy. We are doing what we enjoy and we are working towards our goals. Those are all important.
I have not yet figured out how to rewrite scripts in my head, but I think writing everything out helps to an extent. I need to shift my expectations to ideas which allow me to accept my/our successes now rather than being upset for goals we have not yet reached.