Ideas, inspiration and perspectives on style, health and fitness, money matters and living the good life designed to help the middle-aged man attain his personal best.

How To Know When You’ve “Made It”

Scott Barthelmes - Thursday, April 20, 2017

As The Relevant Man enters the prime of his life, he begins to evaluate his path. Somewhere along the line you’ve realized some of your dreams. You grew out of a few. You let some of your life goals go, because you recognized that they weren’t attainable, or you found something more cherished along the way. So, how do you know when you’ve lived a successful life? How do you know when you’ve “made it?”

Obviously the answers are different for everyone, although there are those who believe that theirs is the only right answer. We all have varying and evolving life goals. That’s what makes us individuals, or — in some cases — blind followers.


Money, Belongings, Real Estate, and Toys are the measures of success for the materialistic man. But, let’s be honest here. We all have a little bit of that little boy left in us. The one who wants “all the marbles.” Or, the one who wants the newest toys and gadgets. Even if your measurement is just to have the best fishing lure that’s ever been cast, you’ve got a hint of this in you. Trouble is, there’s always a larger net worth, a bigger house, a nicer pool, or a better fishing lure out there. It’s an undefinable, and unattainable goal. So, not a great way to tell if you’ve “made it.”


You’re never more grateful for good health than when you’ve had a scare. It could have been something as simple as a scary medical test result. You may have had a family member or close friend that had some major health issues — or worse yet — didn’t make it. Or, you may have had some major health issues that made you realize how precious it is to be healthy. But, the truth is that being healthy is an ongoing journey, and if you wake up in the morning, and you’re fortunate enough to be healthy, then you’ve “made it” for another day.


Religious Enlightenment

There are those who are much wiser than I who have sought religious enlightenment as their life’s goal. And, it a pretty powerful motivator. Whether you believe in religion, or God, or self realization, or any of the millions of combinations that lead to spiritual awakening — there’s no denying that the force is real. It might be a chemical reaction within the brain. It might be a greater force in the universe. But, there are more stories than man can count that tell tales about the power of belief … in something.


Did you find true love? Have you love and lost? Are you still in a search for a soul mate? Do you emerge yourself in the love of your family, your kids, or your friends? Does your pet make you feel like your life is fuller? Love isn’t a bad life’s goal.


Easy segue here. Family is a pretty common goal from the time we’re children. Some dream of big families with lots of kids. Some want to hit that average mark of 2.5 children. Some find family in a relationship that doesn’t include any offspring at all. Others build a circle of close friends that have become a family. Whatever unit defines family for you … did you get there?

Travel and Life’s Experiences

Bucket lists. dream destinations, restaurants, or life’s experiences that you can’t imagine having lived life without. Have you managed to make time in your life to realize the thing that you wanted to experience on this earth. If not, what are your plans to get there?

Business Accomplishments

Whether your goal was to attain a certain status within your company or profession; or you wanted to build a business; or you wanted to have a creative impact on the world. Our professions are a big part of our lives. And for many of us, those functions that we serve — those occupations that we hold are a big part of our life’s goals. We might not hit all of our marks, but chances are that you celebrated more than a few victories along the way.



For some folks “making it” just means feeling secure that everything is going to be OK. Whether it’s knowing that you have enough wealth so as not to have to worry about where the next buck is coming from, or knowing that you have put yourself and / or your loved ons in a place where you have mitigated the risks of anything bad happening … security is a pretty common life goal. And, for a lot of us, that comfort means that you have it made.


What have you left behind? Is there a bench with your name on it in your church or synagogue?Are you “big time” with a hospital wing that bears your name? Did you publish anything? Are your kids or grandkids your living legacy? Did you touch someone’s lives and make a difference during your short tenure on this tiny blue planet?

It’s a Truth and a Trick

Truth is that “making it” is just a moment in time. It comes and goes in the blink of an eye. Trick is that you have to take a minute to recognize it. You need to be thankful for the good things in life. because “making it” really boils down to being happy with your life, with your journey, and with your plans. It isn’t an end game. It’s a momentary realization, that you may not have had the perfect life, but you’ve had some pretty damn good moments. And, you’ll have some more to come. Enjoy them.

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