Successful or Not?
I have never been as scared of a blank page as I have been this past month.
Every word that formed in my head sounded cringeworthy to say the least. Nevertheless I kept pushing it out onto the screen because I had deadlines to meet. It was like going to a party, staying tongue-tied most of the time, and then involuntarily opening your mouth to blurt out an inappropriate joke or to utter nonsense, all the while wishing you had stayed at home.
I made up several excuses to convince myself to skip writing today’s post, fearing that more mediocrity will flow out and it will remain in the digital ether for all the world to see. Being the pro I’m at procrastination, I would have succeeded. Thankfully, I came across a post from Patrick Rhone, about his thoughts on writing. Here are a few lines from that powerful post.
Some days that means the less than great stuff. Some days that means the truly boring stuff. But you have to find the courage to put it out there for others to see, share, shred, or otherwise speculate on it. You often may not like what you hear but you take it and go back and make more art tomorrow.
So here I am—4000-odd words, several nuggets of wisdom, and some sheepish self-realization later—finally writing today’s post.
Through my words, as much as I’m sharing my thoughts with you, I’m discovering and deciphering the secrets of my mind. To quote Rhone again:
what you ultimately put on that blank page is a piece of you.
No More Walking On Eggshells
I’m in no way successful if we go by the signs and parameters that the world uses to define and measure success. If I was a stranger or merely an acquaintance to them, the people who’re closest to me might have branded me a failure. Perhaps they secretly do so even now, but their love for me keeps me insulated from such a negative sentiment even if they do have it.
For all that, in my eyes, I’m a success - a quiet success maybe, but a success all the same. When I’m taking stock of the past and mulling over the details of the present and the future, I realize that I’m happy where I’m in life right now. Of course, there are many things that haven’t turned out as I had hoped, and in day-to-day life, there’s quite a bit to stress me out. But overall, even though the future is hazy and uncertain, I’m content to know that no matter in which direction life is leading me, I’m taking the right actions.
It took me the better part of my twenties to come to this point - a point where I can confidently say that in all the things that matter to me, I no longer consider myself in the running for any special prize. That is not to say that I have turned into a state or country of one, or that I don’t have any aspirations left, or that I have given up on all the things that make my generation tick.
What I am saying is that I have now come to accept that success is relative. We’re free to define it and live by our definition of it. But, we have no control over how our spin on it will be interpreted, by loved ones and strangers alike.
I have always been out of sync with the world around me, both in terms of thoughts and actions. No amount of coercion, blatant or otherwise, has brought me back on the “right” track, but it has usually left me feeling isolated and guilty for not having the same priorities as everyone else. The difference now is just that after all these years, I’m not fighting my quirks or thinking that I’m disfigured in some intangible way because of them.
I’m finally okay with not matching the world idea for idea, step for step.
- February 7th, 2014