I think that the title is a pretty clear introduction to this chat, so let’s just get right into the argument shall we? So I was doing the dishes yesterday and Babe (my Ego) decided to start with me by telling me how she defines success.
“Car, when are we gonna buy a house and have some kids?” she asked.
“What if we never do Babe?” I asked back. “Would you be okay with that?”
“I really don’t know if I would. I mean you and Maurice are so smart. He could’ve been an engineer by now and you could’ve been a psychologist with a PhD and everything. Instead, you both work these shitty paying jobs and all of your friends have surpassed you. I mean seriously, what are you doing with your life?”
“You sound like Mom.”
“Well, I choose to live a simple and stress free life so that I can stay true to myself and be creative. I don’t care about how much money I make. I mean if somebody wants to pay me millions a year to do what I do now, I won’t turn it down, but I’m fine if that doesn’t happen.”
“Yes I understand, but what about what other people think? Don’t you want people to see you as a success?”
“So let me answer your question with a question: If I go and pursue a stressful job, and buy a house, and have a kid, are the people who judge how I’m living my life now going to be there to comfort me when I have a breakdown because I’m overwhelmed? Are they going to be there for me to lean on when I’m depressed? Are they gonna help me and Maurice pay our bills and raise our kids? Are they gonna help me work on my marriage problems?”
“Oh absolutely not, and do you know why? Because they’ll be living their own lives and trying to fix their own problems. They won’t have time for me. The people that judge me aren’t going to help me, so why should I cater to their expectations?”
“I guess you’re right about that, but I still feel insecure sometimes.”
“That’s completely understandable. But would you like to know what I want Babe? I mean what I really really want deep down inside?”
“To be happy?”
“Yes. To be happy. And being happy in this lifetime means having the freedom to explore every aspect of myself at my own pace and in my own way. So if I have to work shitty jobs and hold off on pregnancy so that I can write a book, and maintain a blog, and record podcasts, and spend time with my husband, and listen to my body … so be it.
“I can’t refine my talent and make my unique contribution to the world if I’m running around trying to conform to everyone else’s definition of success. I have to define success on my own terms, and my definition of success is happiness.”
“But what about people that think you’re selfish? I mean you’ve been married for seven years and you have a great marriage, why don’t you have a baby and pass that talent along?”
“I believe that one day I will have a baby, but I can’t stress myself out about whether or not that will happen, or if I’m taking too long to make it happen. I’m fine with waiting because I feel that my life is already complete without being a mother.
“We had the same realization before we started dating Maurice, remember? We came to the conclusion that we were enough and life was complete as a single person. And from there we let a relationship unfold naturally.”
“Yeah, I remember that… That was liberating… I think you’re brilliant.”
“No I’m serious. And I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I just get scared that your genius will never be recognized. And I want everyone to know that you are one of a kind and that you’re so perfect and so talented, but the world is too shallow and judgmental to see it!”
“Well that’s okay if I never get recognized and accepted by the crowd. I’ve always been different and I’ve always walked alone. The lives that I see normal people living… I don’t want that life. Mediocrity is not for me. I like living my truth and taking my naps and documenting my life on my own terms. Even if it means that I won’t be recognized for my talent until later in life or until after I’m gone.”
“Yes, and that takes courage. Thank you for taking the time to explain this to me. I’m sorry that I didn’t understand… You’re a good guardian angel.”