What’s Your Idea of Success? Really.

Barbara Hinther
3 min readDec 23, 2020
One of my welcome neighbors. Handsome, ain’t he?

The more I participate on Medium, the more I learn. And realize I’m at a much slower pace than the superstars. My goals are not to make the most money, receive honors, become the most viewed and clapped (please feel free to do so, though). At this stage in my life, my goal is to help someone, encourage someone, listen to someone. Maybe those are the goals we all have underneath the career goals. The goals that last.

I was not a writer, except during my career as a copywriter, PowerPoint presenter and business letter writer. No college degree, yet I entered the marketing field creating and selling radio, television and newspaper advertising. What a fun time! I had no idea I was successful, but I was.

Someone asked me what success meant to me because I was depressed over a couple of relatives coming to visit. Their idea of success was a big salary, college degree, awards and a McMansion in a big city. Why would they visit me?

That success question knocked me on my butt! I never really considered it. Here comes soul-searching and the realization I was successful by my own standards. I had a career in rural Idaho that I loved and love. What beauty! Weekends were discovering Idaho. Horses for the grand-kids to ride. Crickets and tree-frogs singing at night. A great little bar and grill in my little town of about 300 with community. A loving marriage. Health. Savings and retirement. Humble home paid for.

Did my relatives concur with my idea of success? Probably not. I loved my life! Yes! This was success!

A few years later, my husband got sick with Lewy Body Dementia. I became a full-time caregiver. Good-bye career. Good-bye financial security. Enter loneliness and fear. Hello widowhood. What was true success now? What could I leave for my loved one should I be outta here?

The same things I had before tragedy tore me and my life into shreds. The same things that truly last. We all face tragedy and loss someday.

Here are the anchors, the accomplishments I held onto during the dark times:

  1. Love. My friends, kids and grand kids have in their heart that they had/have love, experiences, laughter and acceptance that will grow and be with them, their kids and grand kids. It’s okay to make mistakes…
Barbara Hinther

Lives in a rural town, marketing for over 30 years, author of Meditations and Encouragement for the Caregiver of a Loved One With Dementia. Volunteer.