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.