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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Regarding Success

Posted as regarding success on July 5, 2009

What is success, anyways?

According to Dictionary.com Success is:

1. the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors.
2. the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like.
3. a successful performance or achievement: The play was an instant success.
4. a person or thing that is successful: She was a great success on the talk show.

In other words, it's the completion or accomplishment of a goal with favorable or prosperous results.

Everyone has different goals that they want to attain, so to measure each of us, to compare us to others, doesn't really make sense.

Like, I'm (fairly) successful in that I've completed my B.A. However, I'm not successful because I have yet to have a novel published (working on it...). Yes, I suppose the short comics that I've published with Kerry's Place Autism Services counts a little, and that I've had Amhelaki Misadventures online for six years now. Still, my goal is to finish my two main manuscripts and get them published.

At the same time, I have a goal of finishing Amhelaki Misadventures and then going back and writing the entire history of Amhelaki out, including the comic, in novel form. I never intended Amhelaki Misadventures to 1) be anything but a random episodes of silliness; 2) be this long and 3) be anything but the bare bones of the novel. AM, from the beginning of the plot, was intended to be a rough draft of sorts. And yet, six years later...

Anyways. Bringing me back to success. I have an other goal now, to write a comic for a secret secret project. (working on it! working on it!)

Also to finish my Library Technician course. This, of course, leads me to pursue a stable job in a career that I actually care about and feel comfortable, while still pursuing my writing goals.

And somewhere in all that is the goal to become more independent and live separately from my parents. The seemingly independence and functionality of the last six-ish years has been carefully constructed and maintained by a few simple and invisible supports.

For one, if anything goes wrong, like I have a panic attack, feel that I'm sick, etc, I call my parents and ask for help. Even though I'm not living with them, they still support me from afar. In one instance, they have immediately jumped into the car and drove to my dorm unannounced (startled the crap out of me when I opened the door and found them there).

Second, I rely on the presence of others, from the nearly two hundred other dorm-mates (I lived in a small Mennonite university college, Conrad Grebel, for the first three years of university), to the two-to-three roommates in my apartment, to keep me conscious of my living space, how my habits affect others as well as myself. Also, the presence of others keep me grounded, as my imagination has a habit of running away on me, and keeps me socially interactive offline.

Without these supports, I am all too aware that my ability to "function" is decreased. I am predicting a return to more online social interaction once I move back home. However, this is compared to the complete breakdown of being able to care for myself that would happen if I chose to stay where I am now, attempt to live by myself with my current skills (never mind that I probably wouldn't be able to make rent anyways). I need to develop more of those skills, or else admit that I will never be able to live completely by myself (I won't say independently, because as humans are homosocial creatures, none of us are really independent).

While this isn't such a big deal right now, when I have people who can help me take care of myself, I am also all too aware that it won't always be the case. I won't always have my parents to take care of me, and at some point, I will have to take care of them. I don't like thinking about it, but that's reality. In a way, I need to develop grown-up skills, especially while I still can. Then, I suppose, I will have successfully "grown up". As if there really is a goal for such thing.

But let's put this all in perspective; we have goals to do things. To accomplish something. What are we really trying to accomplish? To do something that no one else hasn't? To survive? To be happy?

Success is relative, I think, to one's perspective and attitudes. For example, I could believe that I failed because I didn't finish my Honors degree, or I can believe that I succeeded because I completed my B.A. I could be depressed about how I'm moving back home and how I am reliant on others, or I could look back at what I've done, look at where I've come from and the accomplishments I've made so far. It's no fair to others and it's no fair to myself to compare myself to others. As much as I have gotten help and others have aided me, in the end, it's MY accomplishments, that *I*'ve done in MY life, no one else.

And besides, I've become the person I wanted to be when I was a kid. That's gotta count as a success, right?

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