A to Z Theme 2016

For my 2016 A to Z theme I used a meme that I ran across on the blog of Bridget Straub who first saw it on the blog of Paula Acton. This meme is a natural for me to use on my memoir blog. It's an A to Z concept and it's about me. No research and nothing complicated. I'm given twenty six questions or topics to discuss that are about me.

In April I kept my posts short and uncomplicated. In the midst of it all you might learn a few things about me that you didn't previously know.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Success (Soundtrack of my Life)

Crown Navarre
Crown Navarre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

       Success is measured differently by each of us and often we have different views of our own success within our own lifetimes.    The standard of success might be the amount of money we have, what level we've achieved in our careers, who knows us or whom we know, or any other number of factors.  The view that others have about your success might be very different from how you view your own success.  There is no one standard that defines personal success.

         Naomi Ruth Eisenberg who was a vocalist and violinist with Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks, one of the finest bands to come out of the early 70's San Francisco music scene, wrote the song "Success" which appears on the final album of this particular incarnation of the band.   Last Train to Hicksville...The Home of the Happy Feet is now considered an album classic from a band that could have offered so much more if they had continued.  Still, Hicks went on to form the Acoustic Warriors and perform as a solo artist.  Eisenberg continued playing with other acts including her own band Naomi Vice and occasional reunions with the Hot Licks.

        The song "Success" pretty well sums up the feelings of many in the entertainment industry as well as any other field of endeavor.    Success is always playing with our minds.  Enjoy the song and let me tell you my own thoughts pertaining to success as it relates to my own life.

Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks "Success" (1973)


       When I was a kid I had dreams of what I wanted to be someday.  Those dreams changed at times and at times those dreams were pretty big.   Back then my hazy concept of success had more to do with recognition from others than any tangible understanding of money or other personal assets.  For me at that stage of life things like a house, a family, and everything that might surround me one day were merely a given that somehow I accepted would be there in some way, but nothing specific or definable.

       In junior high school a class social studies project had us looking to the future to research five potential fields that we might like to pursue as an adult.  My chosen fields--entertainment, music, writing, photography, and teaching--were each achieved by me to some degree in my life.  This is a certain success that I can claim though the individual success I achieved in each realm might not be especially significant.

       Millions pursue a successful career in entertainment while relatively few make much of a mark in the field.  Just having the opportunity to have worked and actually made a living in entertainment is my claim to having achieved a certain success.  I have little to claim as far as fame or money, but my experiences have been a wealth deposited to my bank of life memories.  I wanted to do something that many people dream about and I actually did it and made money.   To me that was a success.

        Success as an all-encompassing term that defines me is not something to which I can lay claim.  However the cumulative small successes in my life have brought me some degree of satisfaction.  I feel like I'm still on that proverbial road to success and I still have a long way that I can go with time now running out.  Not knowing when my time will run out puts me at some disadvantage though still I would have to ask one question:   If I knew the end of my story would I be more likely to achieve the success of which I dream?

         Let's face it, success can sometimes be pretty arbitrary and it's never guaranteed for most of us.  Many years ago I decided that while I could aspire and admire the success of others, my own success was what I would recognize it to be.   Over the years I've been pleased with a good many of my career accomplishments.  Maybe they were not especially impressive to many when compared to the success of others, but my success worked for me and most importantly I've never just stopped to bask in the sunshine of what I've achieved.  There's more to come I hope and I hope my dreams will not be thwarted too soon.

        As the song "Success" asks, "Will they remember me or leave me far behind?"  Riches and fame are nice, but what will my legacy be?   And even if I am remembered by a few if only just for a short time, I don't think that memory matters as much as the life I lived while I was living it.  Success is mostly a personal measurement and that's what is most meaningful to any of us.  I've enjoyed my life and want to continue to enjoy many more years of accomplishment.   What others think is important--I won't dismiss that fact.  But what I think about my life, what I've felt while living it, defines success on a personal level.

         I hope that I leave something worthwhile behind me.  I hope that I have contributed some modicum of positivity to the world.   I hope I have enjoyed my life once I have left it.  Hope--perhaps that's the most important thing we have.   A life without hope must be a dark place to be.

          What have been some of the successes to which you can lay claim in your life?   Do you continue to plan on future successes in your life?    Is the pursuit of success ultimately meaningless?

       Robin has been doing the Soundtrack of my Life posts on her blog Your Daily Dose.   I had done a few of my own "life soundtracks" on my Tossing It Out blog as well as the song series (starting at this post) I did for my 2014 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge on Wrote By Rote.  Be sure to visit and follow Your Daily Dose for more Life Soundtrack info.  I hope you'll also visit my current Battle of the Bands to vote on your favorite version of the Dan Hicks song "I Scare Myself".  


  1. To be honest I think I'm an utter and complete failure and a disappointment. I've always just bumbled along with no real desire to work super hard to be really successful, and the years that I did make great money, I spent it instead of saving it. I remember my confusion as a kid, seeing so many girl getting married out of high school or college and being stay at home wives, yet women were expected to have a career and work, even if married. I graduated high school in 1982 and that was really the transition point from women that married and stayed home and women that now had careers. And to be honest, I never really wanted a career. I am very happy being a stay at home wife now. I love it. I don't miss work one single bit.

    1. JoJo, I don't agree and think you're vastly underrating yourself. You have a lot of talent from what you've displayed on your blog. Maybe you just never found that perfect job--or at least the job you liked that you were able to stay with long enough. Start focusing on the positive aspects of your life and the potential you have and you might start developing a different outlook. Easier said than done I know, but you can start seeing the success over the failure if you start looking in the right way.

      Keep creating your great arts and crafts and photography. You are pretty amazing!


  2. What a great post, Lee - I enjoyed reading about your journey through those chosen fields. You most certainly have touched my world with your positivity and will be remembered because of it.

    I often wonder when driving past a building with someone's name on it, which I do not recognize, if they truly understand what leaving a legacy means.

    It is only in touching others with acts of kindness, and compassion (in words and deeds), that we leave a piece of ourselves in the hearts of others. Big neon letters never hit that mark.

    Thanks for sharing this post. It really is a good read. With smiles, Jenny

    1. Positivity may not be specifically remembered, but the message it spreads can hopefully make a difference.

      Thank you for your complimentary words that are encouraging to me.


  3. The definition of success certainly changes over time. I know flipping my priority from career to categorizing was more of a jolt of reality than a choice.

    1. Life often demands that we adapt to whatever we are handed. If we don't then it's difficult to succeed.


  4. As you say, success is hard to quantify. For me, I'm beginning to think it's about not having regrets. I've felt bad for so long with migraines that the regrets began to mount at an insurmountable rate. A big part of my journey (recently) has simply been letting that regret go. Reaching a place of acceptance. And, always, hoping that things will improve so that I can actually do the things I want to do. Or do other things I didn't know I wanted that I can do. And being at peace with that. I'm not certain I've got it figured out, but I'm gaining on it.

  5. Robin, you've zeroed in on the important life waste of having regrets. My philosophy is no regrets. Regret is a waste of time and energy and becomes a burden that can make us sick physically and emotionally. If you can't change something--like the past--there's no point on dwelling on it. Might as well fix what we can in the now and try for better future outcomes.

    Acceptance is another very important factor. If we rail against ourselves, who we are and mistakes we may have made, then we're impinging on everything else we are or could be.

    And hope! What an important word to consider. We must have hope in order to live a quality existence. Let life happen and enjoy the ride as much as possible. All questions are never fully answered, but we still have to keep asking them and trying to find the best answers.

    So glad you made it by to leave a comment. I'm praying for your utmost peace of mind and body.


  6. I like to think that I've been successful, if not at least greatly appreciated after the fact.

    The one solid success that I've had, was to have a book traditionally published. No matter what else happens with my writing, I have that one solid success to hang my hat on.

    All my other successes have been just as, if not more fulfilling: marriage (26 years) and two very well adjusted children (14 & 23).

    Life is what you make of it and all successes, great or small, should be valued for what they are: the completion of an achievable goal.


    Books By G.B. Miller

    1. GB, having the book published is a nice milestone that I too would like to one day achieve. Having kids who turn out well is a great accomplishment especially for adding to legacy. Hopefully, they pass on your memory to future generations even if most people forget your book. Ultimately I think the most important success is what it has all meant to you in your own lifetime and I think you sound like you're in a good place with your own success.


  7. >>... For me at that stage of life things like a house, a family, and everything that might surround me one day were merely a given that somehow I accepted would be there in some way, but nothing specific or definable.

    Exactly the way I felt. I never especially DESIRED to be married - and definitely did not see myself as ever being someone's "Dad" - but I didn't shun marriage either. And I always just assumed I'd end up being married because... everyone else I knew did.

    But, nope. No wife. No kids. No real regrets about that, either.

    But I do feel I sold myself way short. Success to me is making some kind of... well... never mind. I've said enough. No mo' rants (today, anyway).

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

    1. STMcC, as I entered into my college age years I began to feel like those childhood assumptions would never be achieved by me. I guess it was because it was time to do something about them and I wasn't having much luck and for that matter I don't think I was quite ready to be tied down to a family life. When it was time it just happened.

      My life as a family man had plenty of ups and downs as well as positives and negatives, but in retrospect it was all worth it even with the worst parts included if they had to be there. I could have done without the negatives, but it wasn't in the cards for me and besides, I don't know anyone who hasn't had some negatives to deal with in their lives.

      Now you've got me curious about where you left off in your comment. It didn't seem like you were necessarily going into a rant.



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Arlee Bird