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Defining Success

From Merriam-Webster.com, edited to remove irrelevant stuff:

Main Entry: suc·cessPronunciation: \s?k-?ses\2 a : degree or measure of succeeding b: favorable or desired outcome; also :the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence3 :one that succeeds

I think that the dictionary's definition of success is awfully flat, and unsatisfactory since it includes the word succeeding in the definition. For that, we have to go to another definition:

Main Entry: suc·ceed Pronunciation: \s?k-?s?d\ 1a : to come next after another in office orposition or in possession of an estate; especially :to inherit sovereignty, rank, or title b :to follow after another in order2 a :to turn out well b : to attain adesired object or end <students who succeedin college>

3 obsolete :to pass to a person by inheritance

Okay, so why is She of the Sea rambling on about success?

Because sometimes it is hard to see that you ARE succeeding, when it feels like you are getting no where.

For me, this is a huge problem while my husband is deployed, and I think I'm not alone. During "the bad deployment" (as I have named it in my head), I had three children, the oldest was three, and I was pregnant. I had to seriously reevaluate my definition of success. My vision of a tidy house, with immaculate, stylish children playing quietly while I whipped up amazing meals - um, no. The reality was that as long as everyone was fed, and clothed when leaving the house, the day was a success. (And no one called Child Protective Services. Can't forget that.)

Once you've established a bare minimum for success, then you can really start to fly. Doing laundry, getting out of the house, (gasp!) taking a shower. Move up to really big stuff, like a clean living room, or starting and finishing a project. The sky is the limit!

I don't mean to say that we shouldn't do our best when our spouses are deployed, or even when they are home. However, there is a limit to what we are able to accomplish at any given stage in our lives. Beating yourself up because you can't do everything is not good for you, or for anyone who needs to be around you.

So, to all my friends, imaginary friends, and someday to be friends who are struggling right now: What is truly the most important thing that you need to do each day? I bet you are already doing it. And that, my friend, is success.

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