What makes your life a success? Well, it's all in your own perspective, really. But, really, there's only a couple of things to consider: companionship and career. Are you happy in what you do for a living and are you happy with who you've got in your life? You break that down and you've got an endless string of sub-catagories.
I can't speak for anyone else here, but I see myself as quite confused. Life for me is an endless array of Trials and Errors. Other people have their whole ways planned out. They go to school to be this, they be this, they meet that, they live there, they do their thing, and that's it. That's life. That's the end. Drop curtain. But, that's not me. I went to school for most of my life so far and my interests seemed to change every few months. You catch me in elementary school and you're looking at a math whiz who wanted to go work for NASA. Later on, you'll find me in the gifted program thinking about aviation and business. On into middle school, you know what I was? Mr. Social Studies and Mr. Science. Then I found a creative knack and an ambition to get into advertising or art. And, in college, I just sort of stumbled into writing, ditched the math and science, forgot all about history and art, and waved goodbye to the moon and the planets.
And now, somehow I find myself here. Life still not on any kind of track, still receiving an Incomplete grade.
I'm really an uptight guy. I have all this ambition, but I'm afraid it exceeds my abilities. I keep dwelling on my own limitations and I have to question whether or not I have IT. What's that old quote they say about writers? Those who can - do; those who can't - teach. Yeah, well you can say that about a lotta people. Because think about when you were a kid. What did you want to be? When you were a kid, back when you were allowed to have hopes and dreams and lofty goals for who you'd be when you got to be an adult, what did you want that to be? Did you want to be president? Did you want to be a police man or a fire man or an astronaut or a doctor or a lawyer or a mad scientist or a football player or the King of England? How's that working out for you now?
Most people dream of being someone great, someone impressive, someone with power and authority and respect and love of the masses. Someone who's admired by millions. Like a rock star. Like the lead guitarist for Led Zeppelin or Aerosmith or some other big important band. Let's just say that's what you wanted to be. Well, what happened? It's easy to push it all off the table and say, "Oh, life got in the way," but it's more complicated than that. Because everyone has limitations to what they can do. Yeah, you may want to be a rock guitar god, but you know what? You're not good at guitar, you're good at answering phones and entering data into a computer. You may have the will, you may practice the guitar every day, you may lie awake at night unable to sleep because all you keep thinking about is how badly you want to make it in your dream job. But, when you rise up out of that bed the next morning, it won't make any difference. Because you're a paper-pusher. Because that's what you're good at and that's all you're ever going to be good at. Because Joe Perry, Jimmy Page, Jack White, Mike McCreedy, Kirk Hammett, THOSE are the guitar gods out there. You're you. You do what you're good at and that ain't guitar. That's being plain, ordinary old you. The guy who's not great or impressive; the guy who has no power or authority or respect or love from the masses or admiration. Most people are simply that. They're simply the greens.
Think of a garden salad. If you want to make a tasty garden salad, you gotta have dressing and tomatoes and crutons and cucumbers and carrots and shredded cheese and a little ground pepper. But, it's not a garden salad without the greens. Without the lettuce, the spinach. The plain old ordinary greens that help the eater distinguish the tasty elements from the filler. For every cherry tomato stabbed with the fork, there's about three or four layers of greens underneath getting no love from the palate.
You know, I could be over-generalizing things here. Maybe not everyone aspires for fame and heaping amounts of praise. It's hard for me to think that way, because I do want that. I want that greatness. I want to be known, I want to be the best at what I do. I want to be the best ever. And I can't help but think that my time is running out. That, if I was gonna be great, I would know by now. I'd be on some clear path. I'd be noticed and accepted and honored in some way. That there'd be some sign from somewhere saying, "Yeah, you're on your way." But, I'm 26 and what do I have to show for it? There's two things about life that'll make you a success and I'm failing at both. Maybe not failing, but I'm getting like C-plusses at best. My writing career is non-existent and is going nowhere; and yeah I've got friends and family I care about, but there's not that Special Someone. That elusive Other Half. The fortunate ones have both going for them, but to get by I contend you really only need one: a career of your dreams or a woman of your dreams. You lock one of those things down and you can spend the rest of your life working on the other one with the solace in your pocket that at least you've got half. Right now, I'm 26, I've got neither, and I'm staring down the barrel of a plate of iceberg lettuce. I can't do a damn thing but look forward to the future, because all I can do right now is look down on my past.