How do you measure success? The perpetual question, I know, but seriously, how do you measure success? It seems as I get older that’s a more difficult question to answer.

At the ripe old age of 26, I find myself constantly on the edge of the canyon, looking out and wondering how the fuck do I get to the other side. It’s like I live on that edge, teetering between being confidently solid on the ground and dangling a foot over the edge, just tempting the idea of jumping into the unknown. This is all because of success; how do I know if I’m successful or not? How do I know if I need to jump or not?

This question conjures the most rose-colored answers, too. The whole you’re-successful-when-you’re-happy answer is popular. Some say if you don’t hate your job you’re successful or if you have a lot of money. I think the issue is that I don’t know if I know what success is. I mean I guess you could say I’d know if I was successful so by not knowing what success feels like, we all know I’m not there yet. But is everyone predisposed to get there eventually? Will everyone, at some point in their life, be successful? I think that answers itself, really. We all know there are people out there that you may or may not know who will be forever-fuck-ups.  But even they could have hit success at some point in their life.

I struggle between finding the small successes, the small wins if you will, and looking at the big picture. For weeks I’ll be in my routine (work-gym-sleep-work-gym-sleep) and I’m fine, totaling content, happy, good. Having a good day at work, success! Feeling my pants just a little more baggy, success! Going to a party and not being the first to leave, great success! Little success after little success after little success.

Then one small hitch sends my universe spiraling out of control and before I know it I’m hyperventilating in the bathroom at work, feverishly texting my fiancé for reassurance that I’m not a fuck up, that I’m part of something important and that I have time left in life to be successful. Those small hitches, however, are so draining, so devastating, that they leave me breathless and exhausted. I find it hard to recover. But I do, I find breath again and wipe away the tears and move on.

I never seem to move on enough to get past the first stage of small successes, however. I rebuild my strength and start from the bottom; counting each small success to build up to a bigger one. I rebuild my strength and start from the bottom; working my way back to that cliff edge. But when is it time to jump into something bigger? Into a bigger success?