how millennials define success

I am a month shy of my one year anniversary of working retail. A job that was supposed to be a short term job while I transitioned into another job. Whelp. It has been a year and I can actually say that I love my job and more doors are opening for me taking on more responsibility at work.  I know I am not the first to stalk my friends from college to see what they are doing, how they are doing. I think we define our success by comparing it to how our friends are doing. Where are they working? How much are they working? How many friends they have? What their Instagram says about them.

I scroll on Facebook at night and I see friends on cruises, living in New York City in a hip apartment, killing it at their job, or brunching on Sunday’s with really cool Instagram photos to prove it. When my friends and I get together, we get to goof off and laugh together. Pose for a picture or snap a picture of our food to Instagram to prove to our friends on social media that we still hang out. We also break down with the honest truth when we get asked how we are doing. It is nice to have a group of people in my life who listen when I admit that my life is not as glamorous as it is in my Instagram photos. We all graduated at the same time, but it is amazing to see that we are all on different paths. All accomplishing different things. We are all going through different stages of life

How I define success is not the same as how one of my friends defines success. A college friend of mine called me out of the blue. I was very concerned when I saw his name pop on my phone thinking something was wrong. The only communication we have had since graduation was the occasional snapchat, photo like or random text saying we miss each other. When I answered the phone, he asked me how I was doing. At first I started to say I was great, because that is what we all say right? We both started to tell each other how great we were doing…and then started to laugh because we started to roll off what was going wrong in our lives like a grocery list. Never ending.

When our parents were our age, success was defined differently. They wanted other things. They were buying houses, not spending all of their money on avocado toast ha!! Further proof, that what our parents had, what they want for us, is not what we may want for ourselves. Only we can define what success is.

I thought I would share how I define success on the blog. Since there is no true definition of success, it can be tricky to answer that for ourselves. Do we define it with our career? How Pinterest worthy our apartment is? How many friends we have? How many followers we have on Instagram?

When I graduated college, I took a job working for my town. Within months, I had picked up 4 other job titles, more responsibility came with respect. And I grew to hate it because while I worked my butt off, I wasn’t getting paid for the work I was doing. I put in my resignation and got a part time job working at a college as well as a job working retail to help pay my bills. So here I am a year later… and even though I am not as financially stable as I would like to be, I really do love my job.

When I was talking to my friend on the phone, he was doing very well as a project manager making good money. However, he was overwhelmed by the responsibilities he had causing him to dislike his job. It doesn’t matter how much money you make at a job, what matters most is if you like your job. We spend the majority of our life working so make sure you find a job that you love. Being financial stable is lovely, but make sure you like your job. Loving what you do motivates you to wake up in the morning, encourages you to grow and gives you a purpose.

While we scroll on Instagram, we compare ourselves to other people. I love social media for many reasons. A way to stay connected, to get inspired, the list goes on and on. It is also a place that has a lot of negativity. Something I have spent a lot of time on this past year is learning to love myself. It has been a very difficult challenge. One that has good days and bad days. But I know that I cannot have good relationships with others if I don’t love myself first. As I write this, I have a giant zit on my face, but I no longer allow superficial things like this get in my way. I have learned to become more independent, accepting that only I control my own happiness. With a bit of concealer, a whole lot of mascara and a cute outfit, I know that anything is possible!

A big source of my happiness comes from the friends I have in my life. I don’t need a lot of friends, I just need good people to surround myself with. I can be failing at life, but I know I will be okay when I have my people around me.

Understanding that plans don’t work out the way we plan and accepting that makes things a lot easier. I made plans…a lot of them. And none of them have gone as planned. I know that I will end up where I am supposed to be. I didn’t plan on being a manager at a J. Crew when I graduated from college. But I decided to stop trying to control everything, and just see how it all plays out. We cannot control our success. Our success is not on a map for us to see ahead of time. We have to just do our best, surround ourselves with good people, stop comparing ourselves to others and just do our best.

By having a healthy relationship with ourselves, we can have healthy relationships with the people around us. Success cannot be easily defined. Each stage in your life, success has to be redefined. Right now in my life success to me is finding good people to surround myself with. In a year or two, that definition of success will change. Let me know how you define success in the comments. I would love to know!

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