Sunday, June 25, 2006

I have things to say on the topic of success.

And the topic of failure. And the topics of dreams and reality and age and jobs and careers and love and death.

But I don't have it in me to discuss it now.

I had a weird moment the other day, though, when I flashed back to memories of my first apartment -- a crappy, studio-style place, divided with walls that didn't quite reach to the ceiling, that was located in an industral area of town (near Scout Island, in fact) and was, most likely, not even a legal place to live.

And I found myself thinking of that place, and of where I live now -- how I lived then with two roommates, making my share of the rent about $100 a month, and how I'm now carrying an $800 mortgage, though that's recently been aided with the arrival of a renter.

And it was one of those funny moments where I had to admit that, for the most part, I've been mostly successful in my life. Which is funny, because so much of the time I feel like a massive failure.


elise_on_life said...

Of course you're successful! You wrote a book! Like, holy cow! How many people can say that?

Todd said...

I could argue whether or not that's an example of a success (because, when does a book *become* a success -- when it's finished? When an agent is will to sell it? When a publisher is willing to print it? When it's sold eleventy-billion copies?), but I won't because I think as an example it lets me get to the heart of my problem.

I have a tendency to ignore my successes (like having written a book) and fixate on my failure (like attempting to quit smoking). Glass half empty far more often than glass half full.

After I made this post last night, I had a flash of regret as I suddenly remembered coming out of festival with Monkey House only a month ago, winning five awards -- clearly a success, even without winning "Best Production" -- and I remembered how sucessful I felt that night, and for days afterwards.

And I thought, just after clicking the "Post to Blogger" button -- What the heck are whining about?

Todd said...

I know the "quitting smoking" example seems to be a pretty weak example of a failure -- millions of people fail to quit smoking every single day. It's just biting my ass right now because I had to accept yesterday that I wasn't going to be able to attend Mainstage, as planned, because I simply can't afford it, a problem I wouldn't have had if I had managed to quit smoking about a month ago, as I had intended.

elise_on_life said...

I don't think I need to say anything in response to that.

elise_on_life said...

But I WOULD say that writing a book that expresses something you were eager to tell, whether or not it gets published, is indeed quite an accomplishment.

Todd said...

"I don't think I need to say anything in response to that."

No, I suppose you don't need to say anything. But you could say that, yes, millions of people fail to quit smoking every day, and that I shouldn't take it as a total failure, and that as long as I refuse to entirely give up, that you're that I'll successfully quit smoking one day.

I mean, you could say that.

(Sorry, I'm fixating on the negative :)

elise_on_life said...

Indeed you are. And, yes, I could have said all that, but it seems to me that perhaps this time you learned a lesson on your own, and I'm thinking that this will inspire you more in the future than any words of encouragement I could give.

Todd said...

Fair point.

I'll stop complaining now, as your tone makes me think I'm going to get sent out into the hall if I continue :)

elise_on_life said...

No, no, don't stop because of fear of punishment. Stop because you realize you really are complaining about something that is your own fault, and YOU could have prevented it!

elise_on_life said...

Although, it was interesting to find out that I strike such fear into your heart from such a distance ;)

Todd said...


Absolute terror.

But really, it was mostly a reference to something strangely teacherly in your tone. Not sure if I could put my finger on anything in particular.

elise_on_life said...

You're right, now that I reread it - I kinda had a "There. Lesson learned" sort of attitude. Sorry if I was too "teachy!"

Todd said...

No worries. I'm sure there are times when you simply can't help yourself. It just slips out without you even noticing.

Sort of like me and fonts.