Tag Archives: erasmus

Success Story

A while back, I received an email inviting me to become an online author for a website called Success Stories. Naturally, I clicked on the link. The tagline for the website read:

“Learn from People who Already Made it”

Was this spam? Or was this a real live website? And if it was legit, why had they selected me to write for them?

What makes me successful in their eyes? Is it because I have a blog? Because I have the words Life Coach, Acupuncturist & Reiki Practitioner beneath my profile picture? Does my ability to write make me seem like I’ve made it?

If only they knew, I thought. I haven’t made it. Far from it. Then I promptly forgot all about it.

Until yesterday. When I received a follow-up email from the editor reminding me of the invitation. This time I replied, asking a few questions. What type of articles? How many words? Would I get paid?

The response I received didn’t make me want to write for them. But it did get me thinking about how I view myself.

I tend to forget about all the amazing things I’ve done. I downplay my achievements.

I compare myself to others, believing that they’re more successful, more confident, more able, more driven and ambitious. I don’t have what it takes, my inner bully insists.

Now however, I imagine how others might view me. How some people may not be able to understand why I sometimes feel afraid and insecure.

When all someone can see is a smiling picture and a job title at the top of a blog that’s been running for almost five years, they’re bound to think I’ve made some sort of a success of things.

And you know what, they’d be right. I have been creating this blog for almost five years. set it up. write the posts. get myself through the experiences that inspire me. I learn from them. I grow. I share.

Yet I dwell on the parts of my life that I deem to be less than successful. But who’s to say what’s a success and what isn’t?

Some of the more difficult and less appealing things that have happened are actually the things that spurred me on to make important changes. To be brave. To be great.

Shouldn’t that be what success really means? So yeah, maybe I have made it.

Here are some things that have happened to me, for me and by me:

  • I did an excellent Leaving Cert. I dropped out of college. Twice.
  • I suffered from an eating disorder and depression. I took myself off antidepressants. I worked on myself. I still do. Every day. I’m happier than I’ve ever been.
  • I lived in Spain and Munich. I backpacked through South and Central America. I inter-railed around Europe. I spent a summer on a Greek island.
  • I married at 23 years of age. I got divorced. I’m single. I’m dating.
  • I went back to college as a mature student. I’m qualified in many things. I usually get great results.
  • I’ve worked lots of different jobs. I’ve left lots of different jobs.
  • I have a great circle of friends.
  • I’m renting.
  • I set up my own business.

And you know what? I’m proud of myself. But I don’t think I’ll ever make it.

Because I’m still on a journey. And this journey can be as challenging and painful as it can be beautiful and rewarding.

I feel strong. I recognise all I’ve done to get to where I am. And I acknowledge all that I am.

I have empowered myself enough to be able to navigate my way in the world. I’m doing my best. I’m making it.

Compiling a list of all the things that you’ve been through and all that you’ve achieved is such a positive thing to do. Please make your own list. See how far you’ve come. You’re doing great.

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An Erasmus Engagement

Today, I read a mail from a dear friend who just got engaged to a lovely man she met almost four years ago while we were on Erasmus in Munich. I was a mature student and it was my first proper experience of what college life should be like. I hardly attended any lectures and drank lots of beer. The fun I had that semester!

I had earned the nickname Party Frau and because I was the one who organised all the nights out, My Dear Friend contacted me about the plan for that evening. She was young and Parisian. She didn’t speak much English and I’d forgotten most of my secondary school French but we made do with our broken German. We bonded over boys. She started seeing her now fiancé at the exact same time as I started seeing his friend. She got engaged and I got some short-term fun with a hot Norwegian. Moving along…

My Dear Friend and I became inseparable. I gave her jaunts on my cheap market-bought bicycle. We swam in lakes and smoked Marlboro Lights out my 17th-floor window. We made silly videos together (one hilarious one was of our ridiculous attempt at Unterwasserradfahren: underwater cycling). We travelled to Vienna and Prague and Paris. Her laugh alone made me laugh. We wore our matching Dirndls any chance we got. My Dear Friend wowed me with her cool, laid-back, affectionate, effortlessly beautiful self. We told each other everything. And when she returned to France and I was left alone in Munich for a fortnight, she made sure to have breakfast with me every morning via Skype. We’ve only seen each other three times since then. Once for Oktoberfest, and twice in Ireland. I owe her a visit.

Congratulations, Liebe! I am so happy and excited for you both. I love and miss you. Bisous.

In our Dirndls right before one of our many accidents...