I went to the University of Western Sydney and studied to become a teacher. I received my degree a few years later and did in fact become a teacher. Many of my friends at Uni were part of the first generation in their families to do this, unlike myself and others who had parents with a degree. I would argue that being first generation degreed is more successful than second as the gap is wider. My father may define success - he grew up in a 2 bedroom housing commission home with 2 siblings. He did his leaving certificate 3 times to get a high enough score to go to teachers college. He then went on to have a long and happy career as a teacher in some of Sydney's less affluent suburbs. The gap between his start and finish is far, far wider than my own. Society may argue that a lawyer is more successful than a teacher. I reckon my dad is more successful than most high court judges!
The reason I thought about this was the result of a few remarks I've had recently about my size. I have had a few mates suggest that I need to lose more weight. I spent the 11 years prior to the events in Mumbai working-out to become a big forward for Rugby Union. I managed to get up to 106kg and I am sure that most would have come off second best in a contact on the pitch (if I say so myself!) Following Mumbai I made a transition back to an earlier love of mine, triathlon. I started training to complete an ultra distance triathlon (Ironman). I am now less than 6 weeks away from this and I have (so far) got down to 79kg. That's a loss of 27kg. In the process I have ridden over 9000km, run over 2500km and swam about 500km. Now I am not saying that I wouldn't love to win my age group in the Port Ironman or get a spot for Hawaii because I would. I love to compete. I am just feeling pretty successful having achieved what I have. There is no medal, no pay cheque or no article in the newspaper about it yet I still feel remarkably successful. To do well at the competition would be icing on the cake. The journey so far has been my defining story.