I've been so busy setting new goals, kicking a lot of things I've set aside for the past year back into gear, and focusing on the tasks set in front of me that I've forgotten the main purpose that brought me to this point in my life. It's hard to keep that particular goal in the forefront, because it's not the goals the world considers important or crucial for success.
Success is measured by the collection of things, by education and knowledge, by the achievement of status, by the acceptable recognition of things like hard work and sacrifice. I know ...I've lived my life in pursuit of such success - the education, the career, the status, the collection of things. I'm one of the hardest working people I know, operate with a spirit of excellence in everything I do, and have exceeded every goal I've ever set out to complete or accomplish. And the world has loved me for it and showered me with all the praise it could afford.
Yet NONE of it satisfied me, my soul, or my heart.
I sacrificed so much of my life in the pursuit of these 'things'. I put "me" on hold as the last priority as I pursued them. Where has it led me? I have an excellent education, I gained lots of material possessions, I climbed the corporate ladder, I raised my children, I built a great nest egg, I planned for my future, towed the line, walked the straight and narrow, gave as much as I gained, done my civic duty, became what was needed to make those around me proud and happy ...for what, …in pursuit of what?
Here I am once again, receiving the accolades for my hard work, my accomplishments, my successes, my drive, my determination (my weight loss, marketing, editing, support, friendship, job) ...but what of me? What of the woman? Once again professional, financial and successful opportunities present themselves - and I know (because I've been there so many times before) they will require sacrifice to obtain and maintain. But what no one asks, no one considers, no one understands ...is the true sacrifice it will require - me.
I'm 42. What has all my sacrifice in the past gained me?
The last couple of years I took a chance, and for a moment thought about me and dared to dream, to see, to hope, and to desire the kind of woman I wanted to be - a woman happy, loved, wanted, and desired, living a life in pursuit of her passions, simply being loved, being the bright spot in someone's life by just being me, not for what I could do. I fooled myself into believing I deserved to be that woman, there was someone out there waiting to love me, and that love and passion were the successes in life worth sacrificing for - and so I sacrificed. I walked away from a 20-year (safe, passionless) marriage, from material possessions, from financial security, from a hard fought career, from the American dream, from nest eggs and a middle-class lifestyle. WHY? - For the chance to achieve the dream.
Here I am. I look around me and feel I have failed ....ME. I'm once again offered the kind of success that I've known all my life - a great career opportunity, financial security, the means to gain back some of those material possessions I left behind, an easement of my hardships. I know what sacrifice they will require. But what of my dream? What of my passions? I reached for them - but somehow they've slipped through my fingers. I touched them, tasted them, but for only a brief moment. I help others reach for their dreams while my own remain stagnant. I encourage others to take a chance on love, yet I go to sleep alone every night. Will I only be loved for what I do, what I accomplish - not simply for who I am? Will I never be someone's bright spot - the love of their life?
What do I choose? I don't want to just exist. I want to live my life to the fullest. I want to find success in happiness, in love, in passion, in health, and in adventure. I don't want the prison of worldly success, because I know this time ...it will require my life; I will die. I must be the biggest fool in the world to want these things, to believe I deserve them. It must be true, because I look around me and I'm the ONLY person I know who has actually put their whole life on the line to find them. All around me people talk of taking the risks, and make some minor attempts and vain efforts, but they don't jump. They only take chances from within their secure lives - but turn away when it comes time to actually pay the sacrifice – the possibility of losing everything. They love the idea of the jump, but still stand on the precipice, often turning away from their dreams and settle for the practical. That hurts my heart to so much to see it. I'm the only fool who jumped, and I landed flat on my face.
No one praises me for being a fool. My choices are: 1. Lay here and die. 2. Get up and continue in my madness. 3. Turn back toward the worldly mountain of success, knowing the climb will kill me, and that I'd never have the courage to jump again. I've been told all my life that if I work hard NOW, I can enjoy the fruits of my labors LATER. Later never comes.
I choose to remain a fool, being a fool, and chasing foolish pursuits. Though I see no fruit, no evidence, and no proof - I still believe in love. I still believe in passion. I still believe in me as a writer, and that it's what I'm meant to do. Someday I will be loved, wanted, and desired, be someone's bright spot, the love of someone's life. Someday my written words will inspire, move, and motivate someone else - and touch their soul, maybe even save a life – even if it’s just my own. Yes, I know it makes no 'common' sense. I know it defies logic and is contrary to the world's meaning of success. I know it only makes my life more difficult, keeps me scared, broke, often hungry, and mostly alone. I'm an artist, and I'm alive. I'm living for me. I so appreciate my friends who have stood beside me. I'm proud of this fool - whether the world agrees or not.
Till next time,