For the last 2-weeks my house has been on the market for sale. No big deal that, you might say but for my wife and I it is actually. We plan to move out of a house we own and into rented accommodation. Of course there’s a plan and we will buy a house in the South of France all being well.
For many years I’ve harbored a desire to live in France, particularly the South of France. From my first visit on a student exchange programme when I was 13 years old right up to now I still have this desire, indeed it is now a burning desire, and for her sins my wife has agreed to putting my plan into action and buying a place, not a big place, but our place in France. I’m sure initially it’ll be a holiday home and perhaps our extended family and friends will make use of it. But eventually we will settle there to live our elder years out.
Thinking of this project has led to some personal revelations. I think the feelings were always there just pushed down within myself. Career wise I would be classed as one of those ‘self-starters’, motivated to succeed and ambitious. I began in my current industry (factory applied coatings) 23 years ago as a factory laborer; the lowest employment level in the factory food-chain you could say. Anyway, a shade over 5 years ago I bought the company I work for (with 3 others that is) for a couple of £M’s. So I have a successful career by most people’s measures. I enjoy my work but it’s not the reason I get up in the morning.
So because of my career I own a nice house, in a nice part of town (very leafy), a new car (Alpha Romeo – very sporty it is too). I holiday abroad 2 or 3 times per year, at least once on long-haul and my wife doesn’t work (she doesn’t need too). All these are symbols of success! Well to some people anyway.
But actually what I really like is good food, good wine, being in the sun and fresh air to breath. But I don’t want or feel the need to pay lots of money for these privileges, these should be just part of life and I don’t think I can get them often enough if I stay put.
Success is too often measured in financial terms, the stuff you own and how much you spend when really its about quality of life. These are the symbols, the indicators, that a lot of people use to mark-out success and I have been guilty, all too guilty actually of using these self-same symbols as measures of other peoples and my own success.
I’m not saying these measures are bad or wrong at all. No, they are valid, just no longer for me and I think my wife as well (well I truly hope so anyway).
Success for me means living life through experiences, by meeting people, seeing, watching and hearing beauty. Success means really good food, wine and a clean environment to live in.
I truly hope I live my life as a success, I’d hate to think I was remembered and measured by the things I own rather than the contribution I made to the community I lived in, the experiences I had and shared with others.