Former fashion editor Lucy Williams is now a full-time blogger over on the gorgeous slice of Internet eye-candy that is Fashion Me Now. Here, she reflects on the true meaning of success, and that happiness isn’t found at the bottom of an empty inbox.
What I’ve realised over the last year or two is that being deemed a ‘success’ by others isn’t the route to happiness.
Success means so much more than work and Instagram likes and pay cheques. Leading a successful life is about learning, kindness, the people you surround yourself with and how you can make them feel, time away from laptops and phones (I’m rubbish at this), living for the now as much as we possibly can and doing what you love whilst not letting it define you.
I’ve realised that when I (hopefully) look back in forty years time, it will be everything between the meetings, projects and work stuff that I’ll remember the most.
I’ll remember the travel I got to do through my job of course and might show my grandchildren some of my blog pictures or press clippings (which they will no doubt cringe at), but I reckon if you spoke to any 80 year old and ask what their most cherished memories are, it would be something simple, something to do with family or a person they love and nothing at all to do with late nights in the office.
Obviously there are bills to pay and I still have dozens and dozens of things I want to achieve professionally to keep me going for the next few decades (plus, I’ll admit I do have a little bit of a weakness for nice hotels, bags and good sheets), but I think it’s beyond important to pull your head out from the self-imposed black hole occasionally and see what’s right in front of you before it’s gone for good.
We are so very guilty of jokily using the term ‘workaholic’ as a tongue-in-cheek positive affirmation, a badge of honour if you will for driving ourselves into the ground with some sense of warped pride. And just to be clear, there is a huge difference between working really hard for a period of time (no one likes a slacker) and being an actual workaholic which has a negative impact on your whole life and you as a person.
“I reckon if you spoke to any 80 year old and ask what their most cherished memories are, it would be something simple, something to do with family or a person they love and nothing at all to do with late nights in the office.”
In our go-go-go, goals-orientated western world we far too often measure our own self-worth on work achievements, feeling guilty when we’re not working, guilty when we are and are sometimes too busy to eat, sleep or indeed, be merry. Essentially it’s a downward spiral from there because, as everyone knows, nothing good comes from feeling guilty, tired and generally shit about yourself.
Once you go down that slippery slope, your self-esteem is entirely based on external factors and others opinions rather than inside yourself, and the age-old adage of ‘no one can make you happy but you’ really is worth remembering.
Learning to truly relax is innate to some, and for others, a muscle that needs to be routinely exercised to know how to work. Lazing around with magazines and a shrine of candles is the ultimate way for me to reconnect with what I love and who I am.
This post first appeared in full on fashionmenow.co.uk in December 2016 and is reproduced here with kind permission from Lucy Williams.