Friday, October 6, 2006

What is the Definition of Success? - Wanting What We Can't Have

My friend M called me successful yesterday. I laughed. She went on about how I should see myself as accomplishing something big and I should be proud of it. My reaction? Thinking about all the things I want that I don't or can't have.

Success has different definitions for different people. From the outside, others may see me as successful. I can understand. I should in all rights see myself that way. I have garnered a professional degree, own a nice house, run a profitable company and have a comfortable income. But for me, success is defined by family and friends...emotional connections.

When I look at my life the majority of what I see is living for others. I took the path I took in school because the end result would be a job with prestige that would impress others and show that I am intelligent. The result for me? I have the job, I have the company, but I lack the enthusiasm in my career that so many others have. I do not love my job, I do not like my job...I tolerate it for the things it affords me.

My love life? A bit more haphazard and less directly profitable than my business career. It seems that I strung myself along a list of underachievers, using them to make me feel better about myself. But in the end, all of the relationships failed because they couldn't live up to my high standards and expectations for drive guessed it...success. Bit of a catch-22.

The upside in all this tumultuous realization is one thing. I know what I want. The problem? Apparently I can't have it. Not for quite a while anyway. I suppose they are right and the best things come to those who wait, but I feel like I've already been waiting for so long. J is the thing, the person, I want. He's what I need. He balances me. Shows me how closed minded my perceptions can be and helps me realize that there is another world out there. He is nearly my opposite in all major things that constitute a relationship. He's played his life the way he's wanted, and I've played it the way others wanted me to. He is liberal and city-smart while I have been primarily conservative and live in the middle of nowhere (save my three year habitation in San Francisco). But trying to forge a relationship with him is the most difficult thing I've ever done.

Thing is...I keep doing it anyway. It would be very easy to toss my hands in the air, walk away and find a guy who fawns over me, loves me for my money, and lets me do as I please. But I've had that. It doesn't work for me. And I find myself drawn in by J's aloofness to the situation. I know the desire for me is there...he's told me, but the approach is different and foreign. I don't know how to act, how to react. I feel like I've made a million missteps and our relationship is still just minutes old. There is such fear there. That I'll do something wrong and lose him, lose it all. But I don't care. I keep going along. I'm risking my heart for someone that I can't fathom, but something innate tells me he's worth the risk.

He and I talked about soulmates the other day. He asked me if I thought Benj was mine. I told him that I didn't believe in soulmates in the traditional sense. I believe that there are people out there that are perfect for you, that you are meant to be with. But you can't force it and the timing has to be right. With Benj, the match was there. The emotions were there...they still are. But time never lined us up. Emotionally we would be great together, but we could never survive as a couple because our lives have taken two distinctly different directions. With J, it's different. I feel like maybe we line up. We can talk for hours about nearly nothing. I feel myself calming down with every passing day, becoming less forceful about moving our direction forward quickly and settling in with the idea of us moving slowly towards one another.

I find that I'm changing. I'm becoming more comfortable with me, and slightly less reliant on the opinions and actions of others. Though I am honestly scared to be alone, I do know that something will work out. I would like it to be me & J, but if it isn't...I'll survive. Life goes on.

So...bottom line? I still don't see myself as successful. But I do see myself as a work in progress. I'm working toward the picture in my head. I'm trying to find love within myself and with another person. I'm working toward that family that I have dreamed of for such a long time. My personal idea of success. So, though I want what I can't have in the moment...moments change.


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