What is it you really want? my husband asked me one night. We were laying in bed, books in hand, but before either of us could turn a page (or, more accurately, press a button since we were actually holding e-readers, which leads to a much less romantic opening line), I had told my husband, not for the first time, that I was restless. Unhappy. Dissatisfied.

When somebody asks you what you really want, it’s best not to think about it too much. Thinking about it too much leads to dishonesty. Thinking about it too much leads to confusion. You want to say, Money, but you’d feel guilty saying that in the face of the horrors that plague our fellow humans, so you say, Peace. But you don’t mean it at that moment, you mean, Money. So don’t think about it too much. Be honest and immediate when your husband asks you why the 15 minutes before you go to sleep has turned into philosophy time and not reading time. (Or, given his choice, something-else-altogether time.) And don’t think too much about it.

Success, I tell him.

That is what I want. I want success. I want achievement.

My husband gently pointed out that I had just been part of a widely-recognized national campaign during election time. That I had been on the radio and on tv and in newspapers and websites. How many people get to do those kinds of things? He asked. That, he said, was success. I should be proud.

And I was. Proud that I helped create something that got big. Really big. Even if only for a few short weeks. But I had a hard time seeing it as success. It was fun. It was no big deal. I came up with three little words, and it caught on. I also come up with clever words that help sell millions of dollars worth of products every year. That’s not success. That’s a job. Most people have one.

You’re a little hard on yourself, my husband said. He may be right. I think I may have a disasssociative-success disorder. I recognize it in everybody but myself.

But it’s out there. And I want it. I’m just not sure what it is.



  1. I have this thing where I do something kind of cool, and then I drop into a funk. Because what if I never do something that cool again? And also, now my daily life looks a little bit less cool.

    It's something of a problem.

    However, when I descend into existential angst, I tend to come out of it more resolved to live a good life for myself. So that part is kind of good.

    I hope you come into the good bit, soon.

  2. I know this, I think. I am also craving success - for achievement, for recognition, and for money. It's why I am so dead set on getting the job I want - it represents all of those things for me, for now. I will say, though - knowing what success looks like and being able to name the goal doesn't always mean getting there, which is frustrating.

    It's still good to have goals, though, I think.

    In your case, if I know you well enough, I think the money is what you want for the things it can get you - the things being not *things* but the freedom to write the book and spend the time doing the things you love - time with your kids, time with your writing, time in the kitchen, and so on. so the money is really, if I'm reading this right, about the time and freedom. Sound about right?

  3. Two great opportunities are sitting right in front of me at work, but I am going to pass so that I have more time for my family. It kills me to see my colleagues who also have little kids moving up, but I know the cost is time with my family,
    I'd like to add to your 'success list'
    raising two great kids
    being a voice of the year
    a great friend, blogger, writer, sister, bookclub vixen, decorator of cute home and bringer of fun
    success has a price, but I have no doubt you can achieve whatever you set your mind to.
    I've already pre-ordered my copy

  4. PS Not everyone has a job and not everyone who does have one is good at it
    dont' sell yourself short there either
    that's a huge success.


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