I recently had a short, non-fiction essay chosen to be put up on the “This I Believe” website: http://thisibelieve.org/essay/102962/ (I’m sure many people I know are tired of hearing about this, but, hey, I’m excited). Anyway, when I found out, I was ecstatic. Who wouldn’t be? I floated on air all that day, enjoying all of the comments and support that I received from friends and family.
Then the next day hit like one of those clown toys with the weight in the bottom. I woke-up feeling horrible (without trying to sound cliché, it was just one of those days), and it kept hitting me in the face the whole day. And this had me thinking about success. I think from an outsider’s perspective, at least this is what I have experienced as an outsider, when someone achieve success in their life or reaches a pinnacle moment, we, as the outsiders, tend to think that they have it made. But from experience, when ever I achieve something I think of as a success in my own life, it is never fully satisfying. Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed it, the few times it has come to me in my writing life, but it always leads to another longing to achieve more, to be acknowledged yet another time. This is why this type of success should be second-class in our lives.
First, I believe that success needs to be reevaluated, redefined. There is wavering and unwavering success. There is the success that is fatal, that is temporary, the kind that we all long to achieve. And then there is eternal success, success that never fades, that never fails. I would argue that the latter is the type we receive from our relationships with friends, family, God, our dogs and cats, in talking to strangers, in helping strangers, in loving our enemies and all that good stuff. And yet we long more for the temporary, the kind that will be acknowledged for only a fleeting moment and will in the end, leave us alone.
There is a song, by the artist Gotye that I have been listening to, titled “Smoke and Mirrors,” which ponders the reasoning for one’s actions. It has had me thinking about the reasoning for my actions, why I do what I do. Is it for the temporary or eternal?
Nevertheless, success is amazing and enjoyable in both aspects. I just hope that we, including me, seek the eternal more so than the temporal because no one deserves to be left alone.