I am done trying to “make it.” I am finished striving. No more climbing. I prefer to expand my life outward, in circles of curiosity, love, and communication. I have finally figured out that the whole phallic “onward and upward” American model of success doesn’t serve me. The conventional model of success presupposes that where I am right now is not good enough.
I’m forty-five years old. I had a twenty-year career in journalism and public relations that I loved. Nonetheless, the economy and my expanding consciousness made it clear to me that that career had either run its course or needed significant changes. I am now six years into my second career: teaching high school language arts.
Being the best was the name of my game. I grew up with the idea that there were those who were going to heaven, and those who were not. Those who were not going to heaven were sinners. Those who were going to heaven were also sinners, but they were the sinners who had accepted the story that they were not born the right way the first time, and needed to be born “again.” They were the ones who had accepted membership in the exclusive club of the redeemed. Naturally, I joined the club and professed my inclusion. I still didn’t feel good enough, but I did feel like I belonged to a special club.
So I felt special. And I sure did like the feeling. I began to strive to become more special. Personal perfection was my goal. Business success. Fame, fortune, the American Dream. All that. I did quite well, too.
However, as often happens to women who strive, my push to gain value crashed into my genuine desire to become valuable. The desire to become valuable began to wake me up, and life eventually spiraled in on itself with pain and loss; when I did indeed come out of it alive, I had somehow gained a knowing that I am, and had always been, already valuable.
Laura L. Link
October 16, 2011