Saturday, February 16, 2013


Today we were in Wal-Mart, looking for a few things, but mostly it was a day to roam and wander. In the pharmacy department, I happened to see a sign that read FREE. Free what? It was a bright shiny new kiosk to take your own blood pressure. I thought Wal-Mart had gotten rid of that, but here was a new one. In this one, it was like sitting in a little capsule, almost hidden, almost private. I love machines that tell me something about myself.
So, I sat down.

On the bright screen was a message: START.

I punched the button and learned right away I could learn more than my blood pressure from this very cool machine. It would also tell me my BMI (Body Mass Index, that is weight relative to my height.) It would also tell me my risk of having a serious disease, and my chance of a long healthy life.

Now, do you think I want to know all this? You bet I do.
So, I went about the process of measuring...MY SUCCESS.

First--Blood Pressure. By the time I finished this simple process I learned my blood pressure was--105/75. Really? REALLY? Isn't that very low? Wouldn't I feel lightheaded or something with such a low blood pressure? True, my BP is rather low, but it's usually around 120/ 80.

Second--BMI. I was instructed by the pretty lady on the screen to place my feet on the bars under the edge of my seat--in other words, take my feet off the floor. I did so. Then I was asked my height. Five feet-Six, I punched. The results? Excellent.

Third--my diet. Do I eat 4-6 servings a day of fruits and vegetables? Yes, I live on those and carbohydrates, mostly in the form of pasta. After this test of several questions, I was ranked--Excellent.

Fourth--my chances of living a long life.
Do I exercise regularly every day for at least thirty minutes? No. I am quite lazy.
Do I smoke? No, never.
Do I binge on alcohol? No. Only drink moderately.
Do I have relatives with diabetes? No.
Do I have relatives with heart disease. Yes.

After this test, I was ranked Good--not Excellent--but Good. And it will stay that way because I probably won't exercise any more than I do now.

Why am I talking about physical tests?
You knew I would sooner or later get around to measuring our success by the number of sales we made recently. This is the time of year for reflection--the dreaded 1099s that arrive from our publishers that tell us how much money we made during 2012.

Are you happy? Are you at least somewhat successful? Do you wonder what else you could have done?

All of the above, in my case. Yes, I'm reasonably happy, but not completely satisfied. I surely know I could have done more to feel satisfied.

But do I feel successful?
Yes, and I'll tell you why.
I began writing late in life, so whatever I accomplish now is only a plus, a big present wrapped up in shiny paper with a big red bow. To write stories and have a wonderful publisher who likes my work and puts them out in ebook and print is one of the most thrilling things I've done. And I've accomplished other things later in life that surprised even me. 

I never thought I'd  go to college at age 27 and get two degrees. I never thought I'd be fortunate enough to teach in a wonderful private military boarding school. I never thought I'd learn to play golf at age forty. I never thought I'd suddenly begin to write fiction when I'd never thought of it in my entire life.

How Do You Measure Success? It's all relative, don't you see? Think on the positives, and look forward to trying something new to boost your own success.

Every day is a new day to begin again.

Good luck to you all--and think...SUCCESS!

Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
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  1. Lesson learned. You are so right, Celia. Too often I have a habit at dwelling on what I haven't done, instead of what I've accomplished.

    Morgan Mandel

  2. Celia, that Walmart machine sounds like a doc-in-a-box, literally. And your results are awesome!

    Glad to hear you had a successful writing year. I enjoyed a few very good sales months, some fair ones and a few aweful ones. I am happy about the progress I made on my WIP, which should be out sometime in April. Overall, I guess it was a good year.

  3. Good ... no ... EXCELLENT post, Celia. Measuring success is such a personal thing, defined by the satisfaction in brings. Accomplishing a particular goal, for example, represents a taste of success. But, to me, success is a never-ending journey--with a series of (successful) pauses along the way. We can choose to exit anytime along the way, of course, or continue to the next "pause."

  4. Morgan--I do it, too, all the time. Dwelling on how I've failed in some way can override any positive thoughts or feelings we might have. You're doing great, it seems to mee. So in the eyes of this beholder, you are a success.

  5. Lyn-doc-in-a-box. I'll have to remember that--very good! As long as I have some good to outweigh, or at least equal, the bad...then I'm okay. It just don't want the bad to overtake everything! Uh-uh.
    And congratulations on the progress on your WIP--I have one going that feels good...just hope I don't hit a snag somewhere.
    Thanks for visiting.

  6. Tom--I am so pleased you think so. I agree success is a personal thing. Certainly, I wouldn't compare my success with one of the Romance star authors.
    And that's a good way to think about success...a never-ending journey. I like that.
    If we were completely satisfied, we might quit. We always need something to work on and look forward to.
    Thank you for the comment.

  7. What a delightful start to my day. I've also started to write later in life than I planned because life took a detour.

    I've always told myself these kinds of things but I wondered if it was just a cop out and not taking responsibility for my apparent / ostensible failure.

    Thank you.

  8. There are no clear cut measurements to determine success, so mostly, it's about attitude.
    I've been writing since I was a kid. I submitted my first story when I was 13 (it was rejected.) I had a very practical family and my parents felt an education in literature or English would not make a very good living, so I became a nurse. I wrote every chance I got and kept trying to get published. I finally got my first contract in 1999. I was older than many other authors, but I felt successful. Now it's not just enough to be published, I want to write great stories. I can't always measure that by sales.Some of my books sell steadily while others don't. I don't really know the answer to whether I'm successful or not, but I feel really good about writing and I love it. Now that I'm retired from nursing, I enjoy writing even more than ever before. I may not be rich from my writing and my name isn't famous, but I'm happy. That's enough.

  9. Maddy--I think it's a good tactic to tell ourselves this. Me? I can't function well if I feel badly about myself because I see myself as deficient some way. Not that I think that highly of myself, but truly..thinking well of yourself and your work can only be good. And so, I'm glad your day began well!
    Thanks for reading.

  10. Sarah--I appreciate your sharing your story. Me, too, on the wanting to write something really great. Do all authors dream of this? I'd say probably yes--but I'm only guessing.
    In my most fantastic daydreams, I have written one of those novels that just catches everybody and off it takes, all by itself, hitting the NY Times Best Seller list! Now, that would be grand, wouldn't it.
    But reality sinks in and I know it won't happen--but where would we be without our dreams?
    You kept writing even though you were side-tracked for some time--it was still in your heart and in your mind.
    Good for you.

  11. Success doesn't have to be a number. That's so important, I want to say it again. Success doesn't have to be a number. It can be a feeling, a smile, a hug.

    Sure, we like to quantify everything, and coming from the world of science, you can bet your Bunsen burner that I like rankings and spreadsheets and stats.

    But I learned long ago that numbers are things. You can't take numbers with you, or prizes, or big houses and limmos.

    Sure I write and hope to entertain. That's what I'm trying to say. I sell the books because that's expected, but I truly write for smiles.

  12. you are a wizard, Celia. I, too, am feeling successful after my husband's preliminary estimate of our taxes. I was shocked I'd made more than I realized and am now wondering what happened to most of it. Just the same, I do love writing and rejoice that I actually receive royalties for my effort. Onward and upward, my friend!

  13. Oh, Maggie--you said that so well. As you usually do, your down-to-earth common sense, coupled with your scientific brain--really nails it. Yes, I have a scientifc brain, I can relate. But I also am a crossover to the creative, whimsical thoughts I have. Just go with the flow...don't get cannot put success on a spreadsheet!
    Thank you, dear heart. You are a jewel.

  14. Caroline--you made me laugh. Wizard? I don't think so. I talked to my kids this way...didn't we all? Just take it a day at a time, don't worry so much if you fail and don't reach your goals...just to have goals is a great thing!

    Thanks for your sweet comment. Where did it all go? Mine just goes in the bank. I don't even know how to spend much money. I have a frugal soul.

  15. Celia, I want my Walmart to have a machine that tells all like yours. And I had to smile at your comment re BP. Mine is "high" if it is 60/110. And yes, I'm still breathing and walking around. Success?Yes and no. Reaching goals? Sometimes, especially if it concerns reaching hearts. Thanks for a very thought-provoking blog.

  16. Success? I suppose in my life it's been a moving goalpost. Every goal I succeed at only reveals something else out there on the horizon. Isn't that what it means to be human? No matter what we have or have done in life, something deep in us is never completely satisfied.

  17. Congrats on your Walmart kiosk success, Celia. I doubt I would do as well as you, but hey, I'm approaching the three score year and twenty landmark, and I've not had any serious illnesses or medical problems (apart from my arthritis) so I must be doing something right!
    As far as the 'other' success is concerned, if I look at my royalties and my amazon rankings, I am in danger of feeling an abject failure. In fact, I've felt so depressed at times, I've been on the verge of giving up writing. But then I get a message from someone who has read and enjoyed one of my books, and suddenly the whole world seems brighter! IN the end, success is measured not by money or ranking, but by the knowledge that people are enjoying the stories I write.

  18. Linda--I think the kiosk in Wal-Mart is very new. Otherwise, I think I would have noticed it.
    Of course, you have low BP!
    "Reaching hearts" is the very best kind of success, isn't it? I will remember that term.
    Thank you for being such a good friend and source of inspiration.

  19. Gerald--that a good way to put it--a moving goal post. Truly, I would hate to say, well, I've accomplished all my goals. Then I'd just sit down and vegetate--not good.
    Thanks for your comment and visit!

  20. Paula--numbers that make up rankings and royalty totals are just that...numbers. But those numbers can make us feel elated or feel depressed. I see them as a markers on a highway--just some point I've reached--good, bad, ugly---it's just a mileage marker. And you never know what's just around the bend.
    I envy you your newspaper articles! Oh, for just one of those! You're very fortunate there.
    Thanks so much for your comments--they are always thoughtful with good points--I do appreciate it.

  21. Celia- you dd so well. Give yourself a high five.


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