“These are my life’s achievements”


How do you measure achievement? What is it that qualifies something as a worthwhile achievement? I have very few, if any, accolades to consider as achievements. Others tell me different things I worked hard for are “great achievements” (every graduation, being ordained, losing weight, etc.). Are my greatest achievements really any of these things for which I receive any bit of praise or pats-on-the-back? I am not so certain. Yes, I worked hard for different things, but is hard work the only requirement for an achievement? 

My greatest achievements are the things, which required me to lay down parts of my selfishness. Achievements for which I am proudest required sacrifice of some sort. Is sacrifice just another word for ‘hard work’? I think there is something different. It may not be entirely separate, but I think it is different. 

When I think of achievements, I can only think of marriage and parenting. These are two things in life, which require you to sacrifice and lay down your selfish desires for the betterment of another person. 

I never knew how selfish I was until I got married. Suddenly, I realized that every decision I make, big or small, impacts another person. My decisions did not only affect me. Even a simple decision to go hang out a little bit longer affects someone else at home. I could have chosen the path many men choose, “Who cares? I’m doing whatever I want.” Selfish! It is not an issue of turning into someone different, but it is laying aside my dependencies, alliances, and priorities Tonya’s greater good. 

I thought I learned to be less selfish after getting married. I thought so until I had children. Then I realized how much more I had to learn about being selfless in my life. Dana Carvey said in his first stand-up special, “Kids are neeeeed-machines.” That is very accurate. Kids do not care about your needs or concerns. They also do not have a filter to sift need from want. Everything is need. 

These are my greatest achievements. They are not pandering for pats-on-the-back, because as I mentioned yesterday, I rarely achieve these things completely. I rarely lay myself aside for the better of my kids and wife. It if for THIS reason they truly are achievements. If I wanted to be known for any of my achievements, I hope that this is said of me over any list of accolades I may hypothetically get in my life.