When I was in college every instructor I had told me “To be a successful designer, you would have to live in a major city, be single and work in every job you can land. After each, demand more pay and a higher position.” This is success. The larger the client you worked for, the greater success you had. Not always in financial reward, but in prestige.
I have two children who I helped bring into this world. I stood next to the doctors and nurses and cut their cords. I was looking into their eyes, failing at fighting back tears, telling them how much I loved them before they had their shots and were wrapped in their mothers arms. I have a home; It’s small and needs constant upkeep. I complain about the cost in heating, and I spend more time than I prefer working on the yard in the summer. I am married to my highschool sweetheart. A woman who I have grown up with and understand better than I understand myself. We have a connection that is greater than any fleeting lust I have ever felt. This is success.
Growing up in the 80’s, I was told success is a fancy car, and publicly accepted nice clothes. I was mocked daily for my poor threads as a child because there were five of us kids and two parents who did their best. I faced down bullies with rocks in the face and fists held high because my family wasn’t ‘as good as’ the next. We rented our house. I wore hand me downs, and I passed mine down to my younger brother.
My children don’t want for anything, but they desire things society says they should have. I will not abide some simply because I know better. I know a happy holiday isn’t in the next wrapped gift, but in the company of my family. I know that I don’t have to look down on others to know my own value. Equally I don’t have to look up for approval. At our best we are focused on bettering ourselves and our chosen family, not those we have no connection to and never will. This is success.
Growing up my parents would often give food and clothing to shelters, to individuals who may need it more. They did it out of a desire to prove how Christ-like they were. Today, I pay for the welfare cardholders groceries they couldn’t afford because she needs it and I can. I give money to foundations that ask because it doesn’t harm me in doing so, and it benefits families like mine–years before. I don’t do it for some badge or reward, but because I want to. Because I can and it doesn’t affect my family in any way.
I suppose my version of success is very different than other Satanists. Living within my means, means I do not think about money. I do not stress about bills. I prefer to focus on my son who is growing moodier with each passing day, just like his parents did. I focus on my daughter who is struggling with the materialistic youth in her classes and her parent’s knowledge of the meaninglessness of it all. I focus on my wife who can drive me to a hot frenzy with a look, just like when we were in high school. We fight. We scream. We cry. But we also laugh and celebrate and love.
I don’t know what success means to anyone else, I can only say that I couldn’t imagine any other definition than my own. I also know there is nothing more Satanic than that.