Monday, November 29, 2010

Success As The Absence of Failure

Recently, my days at the café have become a series of "Lasts…"

On Thursday, we toasted The Last Thanksgiving at the Hot Flash Café.

We've decorated The Last Christmas Tree(s).

And I'm beginning to think about The Last Christmas Party.

In the months ahead, there will be The Last Valentine's Day Dinner; The Last Easter, Mother's Day and Father's Day Brunches. No, wait. No Father's Day. We'll be closed by then. Whew.

I look ahead to these things, not sure whether to dab at my misty eyes, or rub my hands together in anticipation. So conflicted. Guiltily happy; frustratingly maudlin. Shoot me now.

But it got me thinking, today, about success, and failure. What they are. Whether they are. Do success and failure even exist, in the context of personal busyness?

Not "business." Busy-ness. The things we do keep ourselves busy. Occupied. Off the streets and out of trouble. Alive and vital. Interested and in touch. Is success measured only by accomplishment, or in simply doing?

Because it's certainly true that we enjoyed a measure of success with the café. During these challenging economic times, our doors have remained open. We are solvent. Going on five years now. That's about as much as one can ask for, these days. But…it doesn't feel like success, really. Not as I imagine the world defines "success."

But, for me, perhaps the success was just in the doing. Coming as I do from a family of devoted non-risk-takers, the kind of people who get a job and stay with it for as long as it will have them, or as long as they can stand it, 'til death or retirement do they part… It feels like a tremendous victory to have stepped out and actually DONE the thing I thought I wanted most in the world.

That it turned out NOT to be the ultimate solution to my life, NOT my highest and greatest destiny, NOT the thing that completed me…doesn't seem to matter.

Because I would never have known that if I hadn't tried. I would always feel as if I had been short-changed by life, or as if I had short-changed life, if I had not at least given it a go.

Am I disappointed, disillusioned, distressed and exhausted as hell?


But I am NOT a failure.

I am left with that. That tiny leg up…to my next adventure.

No comments: