The New Year has arrived and finds me, like every new year before, reflecting on my life. Will I ever be successful? Might this be the year I find success? What is success anyway? Is it money? Is it accolades?
I’m not sure why but as I ponder this I begin to look at my life as if it were a movie. Is it interesting? Is it relevant? Does it have my full attention? What is it that makes a movie a great movie? What makes it a success?
A great story could make for a horrible movie. So it isn’t entirely the story. My take is a movie is great when it evokes an emotion, any emotion, and captures it perfectly. When the acting and the setting and all the details are all so intricately right on, anyone can sink into the scene and can live it. It becomes believable when the audience sympathizes with that emotion it evokes, despite how unrealistic the plot may be. It comes down to the little details, these brief moments of magic you actually emotionally experience while watching. And there are always more than one of these moments in the really great movies.
So if it is these moments that make movies successful, how does my life as a movie measure up? Starring an ordinary girl, doing ordinary things, there isn’t much to get excited about in the story itself. But this ordinary girl has had some extraordinary moments. Moments she was truly mindful of, moments she fully experienced. Moments of pain, moments of joy, moments of love.
Envisioning scenes in my life, I am so grateful. I lived some great moments. Not in some fairy tale or extravagant sort of way, but in a simple life sort way. No glamour or glitz, the beauty can be found in the ordinary if the time is taken to actually live in it.
I have felt the bliss of batting in the game winning run. The excitement I felt in that moment wasn’t diminished by the fact that it wasn’t the World Series. I had the eyes of a child. Nothing else but that moment mattered.
I distinctly remember the moment I realized I was in love with my best friend, still am in fact. He isn’t a prince and I’m not a princess but for as much as I love him, we may as well be royalty. Ordinary experiences can bring such great fulfillment. Like three kids piling into their parents’ bed on a lazy Sunday morning with no schedule to keep . . . , with their sleepy smiling faces asking, “What are we going to do today?” and being able to say, “What do you want to do today?” It is a simple, regular, seemingly ordinary moment but sinking into it I find complete contentment. If I stop and swim in these moments, everything else can fall away. Nothing else matters. I have mined these moments of exquisite joy and love from the most mundane scenarios.
I won’t win any awards for capturing these moments. No one will write me a check for living them either. But I have lived them. And I sit now and reflect on them with a deep gratitude.
So maybe there isn’t one success in life. Most of life is a series of small successes, failures too. I am starting to think, real success comes from continuing after the failures and whole heartedly appreciating the smallest victories. Success isn’t an endpoint. It’s a viewpoint. And from where I’m standing, I have succeeded already.