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A different definition of achievement

By Stacie Chadwick

When I was growing up, my mom never focused on how I looked or what happened to me, because those things were out of my control. Instead, her concern was centered on what I could do to positively impact others.

For her, the word “achievement” manifested itself in a myriad of ways: kindness, equanimity, respect, compassion and generosity to name an important few. Achievement wasn’t rooted in money or fame; it was grounded in the simple belief that by helping to make life better for others you made life better for yourself. She was much more concerned with how my conscious decisions impacted the world around me, big or small, right or wrong, than the things that didn’t go my way.

As life has progressed day by day and in what seems like an instant, decade by decade, I’ve been able to choose my path regardless of life’s twists and turns. Many things have gone my way. Others haven’t. Yet in both my moments of clarity and at times when life’s light isn’t so bright, I’m grateful – to have a choice, a voice and a support system woven from a community filled with family, friends and neighbors who care.

It’s a privilege to wake up each day and decide what to do – to literally make one or one hundred personally-motivated choices. And from what I can see, the vast majority of Castle Pines residents make great ones. Whether it’s mowing a neighbor’s lawn or paying an unexpected compliment to a stranger at the grocery store, Castle Pines is full of kind, equanimous, respectful, compassionate and generous residents. When I look at the people around me, it’s as if my mom’s markers somehow translated to a much larger audience.

Every person who checks in on their elderly neighbor, makes a meal for a grieving friend, or simply picks up the phone to say “hi” strengthens the fabric of this amazing community. The simple question, “Are you okay?” can alter the trajectory of someone’s day, and maybe, their life.

By doing good things without any thought of a similar gesture in return, we make our community a better place. By caring about those around us, compassion comes back our way – like a boomerang. My mom loves to visit Castle Pines, and if she were here to look around and see what I see today, she’d definitely be proud.

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