Tuesday, August 23, 2005

"Live through this and you won't look back."

La has asked me what my definition of success is for our latest Webring assignment. It's a maddening question because the answer is not based on a universal constant, but rather on personal needs and cultural norms. Ask me something that has a definitive answer. What year was the fall of Constantinople to the Turks? 1453. There, that's what I am good at. Articulate and cogent self examination? Not so good.

I am after all my worst critic -- impatient, hard to please, and always berating myself for not doing enough in comparison to the achievements of my peers. This is where cultural norms come into play, and by that measure I should consider myself unsuccessful for not having run for office, started a family, or operated on cancer patients. Cultural norms be damned; what are my needs?

I want to measure success in terms of three factors that reflect my current needs: financial security, emotional fulfillment, and career growth. (Wow, when did I become an adult?) Painfully aware of these needs, I have to confess that there has been this niggling voice of doubt infecting my thoughts lately. Did I give up to much to come to New York? Did I . . . make a huge mistake? Financial security, emotional fulfillment, and career growth are valid goals, but by using this yardstick against my life, I fail to recognize my own laudable achievements:

- Moved outside my comfort zone (DC) to a better challenge (NY).
- Translated my education and natural talents into a career.
- Gone farther than some will ever in their entire lives.
- Made J-Wo very excited over my first round web design comp.

As I walked down Broadway this morning in view of the DKNY mural at Houston, the cool late summer air reminded me of this time last year when I was running back and forth between New York and DC for interviews. I had that rare moment of contentment when I realized that I had come very far in twelve months. And every time I get that niggling voice of doubt, I will remind myself that by moving to New York, I merely cleared the board for future successes.

For other takes on this topic see:

A Prize In Every Box | Write Again Soon | Wish to See | Bad Apologies | A Little Maryment

1 comment:

gunngirl said...

You sound like me, though you're further along than I'll ever be. If I left home for another city and tried to make it, I'd crash and burn.

But I love your very realistic and practical goals of financial security, emotionial fulfillment and career growth.

Maybe it will help to know that someone else out there (namely me) is still struggling to find herself and establish some sort of career THAT SHE LIKES DOING, because right now this ain't it.