The San Clemente definition of success

A home in one of the wealthier neighborhoods in San Clemente (photo by: Faith Haas)

By: Micah Regalado | Editor in Chief

September 20, 2019

Due to its broad definition, success remains relative to one’s surrounding environment. The high demand for houses within the beach town of San Clemente has driven the overall cost of living up, resulting in a majority of middle class citizens. The overall success of the community members as a whole has normalized the word, and the maturing adolescents in turn feel as if they must succeed as well.

However, the exact meaning behind success is shrouded in a cloud of mystery, as even the young adults do not quite understand what they strive towards.

According to the 2016 United States Census Bureau American Community Survey, 56% of San Clemente households receive an income of $100,000 or greater. The law of demand within economics states that a higher income incentivizes people to purchase more normal goods, or luxury goods. Thus, the large money flow within the city has created a consumer culture, focusing on materialistic goods. “Many [of my peers] would turn success into a competition,” SCHS senior Matthew Herrod said. “They’d make it a ‘how much money do you make?’ or ‘how big is your house?’” Herrod feels that success should not be a competition and often it is made out to be that way. Growing up in this environment, money becomes an integral part of success, where one cannot exist without the other.

However, not all people growing up in San Clemente view this as a negative aspect of the town. When asked if he felt a pressure to make money within his career, senior Carter Fann said, “A lot of people in my family are successful but I wouldn’t necessarily call it pressure since it’s something I want to do.” Interested in business, Fann finds a draw towards entrepreneurship and making a profit off of his own business. Fann’s definition of success lies in finding an occupation that he loves and money is simply a part of that.

Regardless of thoughts on the subject, all must remember that success is unique to the individual. Because the majority of people follow one path, adolescents feel as if they must attend college then immediately find a well-paying job in order to live a happy life. In reality, money and happiness do not necessarily correlate directly, as income after $75,000 does not make a person any happier (Business Insider). Of course, this number varies based on location, yet it proves that money only makes a person happy to an extent. Therefore, a person striving to make a large income may hit a blockade in levels of joy. Although it has no one definition, one succeeds in life when they pinpoint personal contentment and no longer feel the need to succumb to societal pressures.

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