How Are You Measured?

As you get older, it is likely that you will, occasionally, look back on your life; especially when you meet people who you haven’t seen for many years. You see, they may look older to you although you don’t feel any older yourself.  Such times certainly provide food for thought about the sum of your life, which nicely leads me to today’s blog.

On Wednesday, I held a lunch for my latest book, “Lessons from a Chequered Life”, in Harrogate; a town where I first went to as a 15 year old when my father signed me into the army at the Army Apprentice School. I moved back, with my children, in 1976 when I got divorced and stayed for 10 years. It was, as I described at the launch, where I started that long journey to the life I now lead.

Now that journey has, for me, been about doing something useful with my life other than just raising a family and, without being too conceited, I’ve gone some way towards that. Not as much as I’d like to have, which may explain why I’m still trying. However, one thing has always been central to that journey and that is that family. It has been my bedrock and, yet, there are times when I didn’t behave as well as I should have done. Something that gives me cause for regret to this day. Not that my first two children say that they see it that way, it’s just that I do. I know that I could have done better.

Now, I’m a great one for life stories and read one, about the 12 men who walked on the moon, while I was away. I was struck by how dramatically that event changed their lives. Notably those who expressed regret at not spending enough time with their families because of their careers. Given the unique nature of what they achieved, they could certainly be described as successful, yet had those regrets. Something I have read in the life stories of other successful people. So much so that, with some of my children and grandchildren around me, I felt compelled to mention it. My point was that, no matter what success you have, the real judgement of your worth is via your family. If they judge you less well than you had hoped, then just how successful have you really been?

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