Friday, 25 April 2014

What's your greatest achievement?

I suspect that many people will react to this question by stating, modestly, that they haven't achieved anything. We tend to measure achievement by success in the material world, which is a shame as there are far more important things in life than that. Look back over the last few days. Did you make a meal for your family that they all really enjoyed? Surely that's an achievement - especially if you have any fussy eaters in your family!  Did you chat to an elderly neighbour and bring a smile to his or her face? That's definitely something that you should be proud of achieving.

Like many mothers, my immediate reaction if I were to be asked what my greatest achievement was would be to say my children, however that's not really accurate. I am very proud of Vicky, Mark and Kate and all three of them have achieved a lot, but what they have achieved has been through their own talents and hard work, and is nothing to do with me! Of course my first husband and I brought them up and tried to instil our values in them, but all we did was what most parents do, so we can't claim any credit for our children's successes. I am proud of what my children have done so far with their lives but even more importantly I am very proud of who they are.

Many of my most satisfying moments in life have been to do with my family, however I do have one achievement of my own - the publication of my first book -which is almost entirely due to my own efforts.

I say "almost entirely" because I wrote the book myself, however I did have some help from my first editor, Debs Jenkins, and my daughter Vicky proof-read the revised version and made some very helpful suggestions. Very few of us are able to achieve things in life totally on our own,

So back to my original question: what's your greatest achievement? Please share with us and remember that you should be proud of yourself for what you have achieved.


  1. Raising kids that have stable loving marriages. Owning my own business.

  2. Pamela, thanks for sharing. I bet that you've put them in order of importance too!

  3. Looking after my Mother who needs it but doesn't like needing help (and being civil in spite her of increasing dementia and anger). Earning fairly high rank in the military and being able to retire so I could look after my mother. Earning my PhD. Being frugal enough to be able to take my mother on several cruises before her health deteriorated. And letting that handsome and wonderful Brit talk me into marrying him!

    1. Robin, you should be very proud of all your achievements. I was fortunate that although my mother had dementia her personality didn't really change. I have very happy memories of taking my Mum to Paris (75th birthday present) and New England (80th birthday present). Loved your comment about your Brit!

  4. Gee, Sue, this one is tough...I don't have children so am lacking that logical response. If I say, "Being a wonderful Mommy to my dogs," it will sound pretty silly to real parents of actual human beings! However, my dogs are a huge part of my life.

    One "achievement" I will never regret is all the traveling I've been fortunate to do. It's a cumulative achievement, hence the quote marks. And it's never really "achieved" as I am always planning the next adventure. Travel has been a constant passion....I love adding a new country to my tally.

    Like Robin, I also spent much time caring for a mother with ever-worsening dementia. Perhaps the achievement for me in that experience was maintaining my own sanity during a long, tumultuous decade.

    I have nothing as concrete as your book! I loved your book----you should be SO proud of that! Of course, it made me want to jump on a plane for Spain immediately!


    1. Andrea, I don't consider your comment about dogs silly, but maybe that's because I've had dogs at home for most of my life! Currently our life is ruled by our Spanish dog Lisa. Luckily she enjoys staying with our friend Shirley when we go on holiday, so we don't have to feel too guilty.

      I enjoy travelling too and we've been lucky enough to have travelled to the other side of the world (Australia and New Zealand) twice.

      I am lost in admiration for those of you who have cared for your mothers in such difficult circumstances. I was living and working in London during the last year or so of my mother's life so she was looking after herself with the help of her sister, who lived very close, plus she had a home-help towards the end. I spent many hours travelling backwards and forwards on the train before she died and we had been looking at options for taking care of her if her condition worsened.

      Thank you for your kind comments about my book. When I held my book in my hands after it had been published, it was such an amazing feeling. If you come this way, please get in touch!