Success is a curious thing. Primarily its something you are, not something you have or do, a verb that takes the ‘etre’ form. Locally it just means that you are supporting yourself financially in a job that’s not too ambitious. To mention for example, that you were working for a blue chip in a capital city would tend to be a gawping conversation stopper.  Hence the added spice when just a week ago some of my friends from London called on see me.

Both of them are what I consider ‘professional women’, meaning both that they have a career that requires a university or better education and ambition. One has taken the courageous step of moving out of London and retraining as a primary school teacher. It was of little surprise to me – though a source of much excitement – that she is expecting her first child. The other recently went to see a career coach to help her get some life into her work-life balance. They each exemplify one of the two choices that seem to be open to ‘successful women’ – top of the career tree or devoted familywoman with an allegedly not too onerous career to get in the way of her primary role.

By anyone’s lights though, they are successful. Scoffing liebkuchen and coffee together in my lounge I realised that that is the one thing I really miss here. The pressure to be successful. I’ve had enough of backwater living where every ten minutes is wasted because most people have too many to spare. I can say all I like about success not being measured in terms of how good your job is and how well you do it, but the truth is that at my core is a voraciously ambitious little monster. Briefly it may be contented by cramming my spare time with Spanish classes and learning to drive. Better yet getting my novel published and earning more from writing. But I definitely miss the City lights and the nine to nine.