I wrote this blog a couple of weeks ago but am only just hitting publish now as I sit in my beautiful hotel room overlooking the hills of Malibu and the stunning beach of Santa Monica. It's a tough life!!!
In May I graduated with my degree in business, which entailed a wonderful trip to Wellington for the ceremony, a LOT of celebratory shopping & a stack of good food & company.
This degree has been almost 6 years in the making as I did the whole thing by correspondence while working full-time. Although I majored in accounting, the study through the Open Polytechnic has inadvertently set me up well for the business side of my photography as well.
And here's a little secret, that scares me to type out loud; I one day dream of being a virtual business coach - helping entrepreneurs with marketing, branding and all things business. A job I could do from anywhere in the world, as long as I have a phone, laptop and internet connection.
The whole experience of graduating was amazing & a very proud moment. The ceremony felt almost sacred & provided a time to reflect on not only the magnitude of work & effort put in to this degree but the people behind me, my parents for their support & unwavering pride, friends that didn't get my attention for months, bosses that allowed me time off for study & exams and Matt - for taking on more than his fair share of chores while I buried my head in books each night & most weekends, for believing in me when I didn't believe in myself and for calming all my pre-exam nerves.
The guest speaker at graduation was Tony Paine, from the Red Cross. Tony asked the graduates three very thought-provoking questions. The one that has stuck with me was: how do you define success?
My immediate thoughts turned to happiness. For me success is defined by how happy I am with my life. Success has never been about how qualified I am, how much money I have in savings nor social status. Don't get me wrong I'm a material girl; I like pretty things & I seem to have expensive taste in shoes! But I don't look at my shoes and feel successful. I look at my life as a whole; conquering goals I have set myself, having a life full of love, being healthy, getting to do more of what I am passionate about, living freely and fully. Happiness. For me a happy life is a successful life.
But Tony's words made me also think outside of myself. What about others? Inspiring others, helping others, making a difference to this world we live in...It got me thinking, when life comes to an end how will we be remembered? What mark will we leave on this world? As one and as a whole. That is something I'm still working on.
So now I ask you to stop and think - how do you define success?
Anyway - that's my deep and meaningful blog for now. In the meantime, not only for the milestone of having my degree conferred, but also for the happiness I have now & the dreams I have for the future, I am thankful to my family, to Matt, to my friends & to you. In different & varied ways you are all a part of my story.xx