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Old 08-16-2017, 08:06 AM   #81
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To even be where I am today financially is a huge success. My family was pretty poor and after my parents divorce we lived at my Grandmothers on her SS check. We were a pretty sorry lot of Grand kids but she did her best to instill in us some basic morals, a good work ethic, and a love of God.

I worked on a hay baling crew making about 20 dollars a day in the summers (1970's) and mowed grass for anyone I could find, and stocked shelves at a small convenience store for slave wages (LOL) until I was 16. I then got a job at the local cotton mill and worked there 32 hours a week for 3.25 per hour (the recession of the early 80's had us all working short weeks) until I joined the service. After that it was construction work (mid 80's) when I could find it. My car died at some point and I couldnt get it going so I applied to a local tech school, got accepted and got a ride at 6AM every morning in the back of their single cab truck with my Grandmothers neighbor and would get to school at 6:30AM and my first class wasnt until 8AM. Eventually that turned into my first career that lasted the next 13 years. When that dried up, I tool a lesser job and went to school at night until I got enough education to turn that into a new career. I always put myself in a position to get the next job upwards, and over the years this has paid off very well.
so even with the odds stacked against me, I was still able to do very well financially.

Outside of that I was lucky enough to get out of my first marriage while I still had some sanity left. But I did get 2 very good kids from that.

Then luck continued to work in my favor when I married my DW and she took on the role of parent to two teenagers (the worst possible time to step in), 10 years later and we still love each other and are best friends as well. The kids are grown and doing pretty well, although they are having to learn some hard lessons as they live with the consequences of their decisions. They will eventually do fine, I just hope I can instill in them the need to save for the future.

My wife and I have a great life and good jobs although we both work at the same crappy megacorp. But in 4 years we hope to escape this hamster wheel and enjoy our retirement.

I have to say as I look back, I've done so much more than I ever dreamed possible when I was 16 years old, wearing hand me down clothes and living on the edge of poverty.

But hey, this was about what we consider success. For me, it's being able to enjoy life while making a true difference\positive impact in other peoples lives. When I finally pass on I hope people say "this guy changed my life for the better". That would define for me a successful life.
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Old 08-16-2017, 08:08 AM   #82
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The thing that always made me feel successful was the look on my Dad's face when I accomplished something . He was always my biggest fan .
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Old 08-16-2017, 08:21 AM   #83
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Originally Posted by Jeffman52 View Post
To even be where I am today financially is a huge success. My family was pretty poor and after my parents divorce we lived at my Grandmothers on her SS check. We were a pretty sorry lot of Grand kids but she did her best to instill in us some basic morals, a good work ethic, and a love of God.

I worked on a hay baling crew making about 20 dollars a day in the summers (1970's) and mowed grass for anyone I could find, and stocked shelves at a small convenience store for slave wages (LOL) until I was 16. I then got a job at the local cotton mill and worked there 32 hours a week for 3.25 per hour (the recession of the early 80's had us all working short weeks) until I joined the service. After that it was construction work (mid 80's) when I could find it. My car died at some point and I couldnt get it going so I applied to a local tech school, got accepted and got a ride at 6AM every morning in the back of their single cab truck with my Grandmothers neighbor and would get to school at 6:30AM and my first class wasnt until 8AM. Eventually that turned into my first career that lasted the next 13 years. When that dried up, I tool a lesser job and went to school at night until I got enough education to turn that into a new career. I always put myself in a position to get the next job upwards, and over the years this has paid off very well.
so even with the odds stacked against me, I was still able to do very well financially.

Outside of that I was lucky enough to get out of my first marriage while I still had some sanity left. But I did get 2 very good kids from that.

Then luck continued to work in my favor when I married my DW and she took on the role of parent to two teenagers (the worst possible time to step in), 10 years later and we still love each other and are best friends as well. The kids are grown and doing pretty well, although they are having to learn some hard lessons as they live with the consequences of their decisions. They will eventually do fine, I just hope I can instill in them the need to save for the future.

My wife and I have a great life and good jobs although we both work at the same crappy megacorp. But in 4 years we hope to escape this hamster wheel and enjoy our retirement.

I have to say as I look back, I've done so much more than I ever dreamed possible when I was 16 years old, wearing hand me down clothes and living on the edge of poverty.

But hey, this was about what we consider success. For me, it's being able to enjoy life while making a true difference\positive impact in other peoples lives. When I finally pass on I hope people say "this guy changed my life for the better". That would define for me a successful life.
Congrats. Cheering y'all on for 2020!
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Old 08-16-2017, 08:57 AM   #84
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I went through phases. At first, it was external recognition, then it was the job itself, then it was helping others achieve above average results. Finally, it was achieving what I wanted in every segment of my life. I am still in that phase after 15 years of not working for pay.
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Old 08-16-2017, 09:04 AM   #85
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It's difficult for me to take much credit for "success" (whatever that is). I won the geographical lotto by being born in the USA. My parents were poor but made sacrifices so that their kids could be "successful." I was blessed with enough health and intelligence to compete in life. So in no particular order, here are some of the things that make me feel successful.

1) Completing undergraduate and graduate degrees in science
2) W*rking for a Megacorp - and then ERing from same after making substantial contributions
3) Marrying my best friend of over 60 years
4) Raising 3 kids late in life
5) Making a decent corp. salary and amassing enough wealth to FIRE
6) Contributing to the causes closest to my heart
7) Moving to my dream retirement location
8) Having enough

I could go on but it just seems pointless. That's enough success for me. YMMV
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Old 08-16-2017, 09:55 AM   #86
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I inherited some real estate when my folks passed, along with the people who lived in them. It was a very, humbling, eye-opening experience for me. I had no idea there were people who lived like this (no bank affiliation, truly living hand-to-mouth, etc). I quickly realized that my parents had taught me to be financially courageous and responsible, and I guess in addition to feeling successful, I also felt very grateful.


After I retire, I want to do something, somehow to help people like this. I've spent years trying to lead these horses to water, but they apparently aren't thirsty. I have to believe there are some out there that are, and I want to help them learn to help themselves.


Great thread.
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Old 08-16-2017, 09:59 AM   #87
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Probably the best sense I had of being successful was getting tenure at a university that I loved...the ultimate sense of security and peace. I've now been at that university 29 years and still love it. To have a true vocation--sense of calling--has been a dream.
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Old 08-16-2017, 01:17 PM   #88
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Success is relative, but...

1) Finding DW and not scaring her off over the past 37 years was probably my greatest blind luck success.

2) Having good friends and an active social life would be the second best sign of success to me, I could do better there, a work in progress. I don't want lots of friends or activities, but a few deep meaningful relationships and activities. The fact that DW have moved around our entire lives hasn't helped maybe, or maybe just an excuse.

3) I guess having enough $ that we shouldn't ever have to work again is the third sign of success to us. It's something DW and I worked hard at our entire adult lives, while most of our friends were buying bigger houses, nicer cars & vacations, and every fashionable gadget/doo-dad that came along. We live well, but understated in most others eyes (outside ER.org).

I had a very successful career, but I've always downplayed that. When I was working and now when people ask me where I worked/what I did for a living, I just say I worked at XXX, I never tell them what my title was, even those who can't wait to tell others what their career/title was. I'd rather people underestimate me, and always have. Under promise, over deliver has always been the best approach for me.
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Old 08-16-2017, 03:42 PM   #89
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Not to sound flip, but my greatest success was convincing my wife to marry me.

Everything good in my life has come as a direct result of the unconditional love and support she has given me.
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Old 08-16-2017, 03:50 PM   #90
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[*]I served my nation for over 21 years
Thank you for your service Major.

Funny story: I make a habit of thanking service members when I encounter them. The Great Lakes Naval Training Center is not too far from me and it's not uncommon to see young sailors and Marines.

Last week I came across a young man in uniform at my local Best Buy. I said "Thank you for your service young man. You're in the Marines, I assume?"

He says "No, sir. Air Force!" Then his face takes on a bewildered look and he says "I don't know why I said that. I'm in the Navy!"

I said, "That's OK son. It'll be our secret."
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Old 08-16-2017, 03:57 PM   #91
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Thank you for your service Major.

Funny story: I make a habit of thanking service members when I encounter them. The Great Lakes Naval Training Center is not too far from me and it's not uncommon to see young sailors and Marines.

Last week I came across a young man in uniform at my local Best Buy. I said "Thank you for your service young man. You're in the Marines, I assume?"

He says "No, sir. Air Force!" Then his face takes on a bewildered look and he says "I don't know why I said that. I'm in the Navy!"

I said, "That's OK son. It'll be our secret."

My first duty station in the Air Force was on a small Air Force station within Fort Lee Virginia, the huge Army Base. The place had been there since the early 1960's but when seen out and about on the Base in our AF uniforms we'd frequently get the question: "You guys here TDY from the Navy? I didn't know we had Navy stationed here?"
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Old 08-16-2017, 04:15 PM   #92
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For some reason, this made me chuckle (even as I admired how far you have come). I pictured the "Our Gang" kids, wearing torn clothes, looking woeful, pitiful, and in need of a bath.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffman52 View Post
We were a pretty sorry lot of Grand kids .
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What made you truly feel successful?
Old 08-16-2017, 06:59 PM   #93
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What made you truly feel successful?

It seems from this great string that we get to choose what success is and only we know when we feel we've experience it. Cool.
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Old 08-16-2017, 10:30 PM   #94
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Not having to work for a living.
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Old 08-17-2017, 05:37 PM   #95
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Having spent a good number of years in the aircraft flight test area, I constantly felt like I didn't know enough about the system under test. Never enough time to study all the material, construct test plans, cards, etc. Even as I gained seniority and was considered a SME, I was always nervous about screwing up.
I truly felt successful on a couple occasions when I tried to move from one project to another (most folks don't realize how long a flight test program can drag on, 10+years is not uncommon). I had to battle with managers to leave current program. At the time it just pissed me off, but in retrospect I realized the battle had to do with my value to the company. Management was simply fearful of my leaving. Wow, maybe I was successful after all!
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Old 08-17-2017, 07:56 PM   #96
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I've had feelings of accomplishment now and again. I've felt like I made better choices than many fairly often. Net worth is better than most of my peers. Don't think the world is worse for me being in it. Successful though? Nope. The world is pretty big and I've let my life flow along - haven't thrashed about trying to make headway against the stream. Billions of people in the world and only a few know me.
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Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
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Old 08-17-2017, 09:10 PM   #97
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.....................

For everyone who has had a full life, and reached a point in life where they look around them and decide they are content with their position in the universe and what/who they interact with, what is the most important piece that let you arrive at that place where you feel truly satisfied with yourself, your life?

...................................... Is it interpersonal and relationships?

.................................................. ............
Yes, this..........DW has put up w/ me for 47+ yrs despite the occasional yelling exchanges; DD has had successful career and married well, and best of all provided our wonderful granddaughter. All these events happened late in life so they weren't necessarily obvious or expected. Rather they were very pleasant surprises.

I call our granddaughter Frosting cuz she's the frosting on my cake of life.
I could depart this Earth tomorrow and be content.......of course, I'd love to stick around another few yrs. for our 50th anniversary and see granddaughter graduate from wherever but that's all frosting too.
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Old 08-17-2017, 09:37 PM   #98
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First time I felt successful?

The first time that I realized that at a grocery store I did not have to do math every time I added an item to my cart! What freedom!

That was 30 years ago wish things were as simple now...
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What made you truly feel successful?
Old 08-17-2017, 11:30 PM   #99
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What made you truly feel successful?

NYC - if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. At least as the song goes.

I feel like I've made it there and am over it. I love other cities so much more than New York but doing it in the Big Apple has given me a sense of "I don't give a f$@k" about whatever else. It's all good and we are all fortunate to be able to live in the greatest country on earth.

Land of the free and home of the brave. We were successful (and lucky) just being born here. We won the lottery of life at birth.
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Old 08-18-2017, 12:07 AM   #100
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Having enough money to know I can take care of my elderly parents who worked farm labor for 25 years so their kids could have a good life in America. Anything more is just icing on the cake for me, truly blessed.
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