Kin Lane

The Loneliness of Achieving Success

I feel I am extremely successful as I approach 50 yers old. I am healthy, happy, and doing exactly what I want to in life. I make good money doing what I enjoy, and I couldn’t think of a single better company to be working for. Seriously, there isn’t. I have one amazing child who is immersed in University learning, a beautiful and similarly successful wife, as well as a Poppy dog that brings me serious joy each and every day. While I don’t own a house in this moment, we are currently looking at buying one. Everything is lined up in my world. I really can’t think of anything that I need or want, that I don’t already have. Well, that is except for the love and respect of some of the people who matter the most to me in family, who for some very sad reasons are not part of my life in this moment, having pushed me to leave them behind in my quest for success and hapiness.

I have left some folks behind in this journey not because I screwed them over, did something to wrong them. I just simply didn’t stay behind with them to wallow in their hard-done-by existence. I literally chose to stick out my thumb on the freeway onramp and chose to go somewhere as opposed to stay behind and joining in on the endless chorus of how the government has wronged us, everything is a grand conspiracy, and that the world is a very, very, very, very scary place–grab you guns. I chose to shed the fear I was raised upon and opted to go out into the scary world and meet it on my own terms. As part of this journey I was able to find me some success. I was able to find happiness. I was able to see that despite all of its shortcomings that government is still the best ally we have as a society when it comes to taking on the powers that be. I was able to see that I had been pumped full of fear and hatred of the government by the same powers that be who wished to keep me down and out of the way. Now, I am no longer down or out of the way, and I am working to tkake the bull by the horns whenever possible and be the change I want to see in government. The world looks very different to me in this moment, compared to how it looked when I was younger, and it isn’t just because I have found success.

Looking back I realize that nobody told me that success would be so lonely. I didn’t realize that so many folks would resent me for simply finding my way out. I am not even rich or wildly successful, just moderately successful. However, some folks still see everything I do as a sign of being a failure, disappointment, and something that needs tearing down. I’ve learned that this is less about me than it is about them, but it doesn’t take away the melancholy of these people no longer being in my life. I miss them. I don’t miss the mutually supported misery that existed back in the day, but I do miss their smiling faces. I do miss the causal conversation in the kitchen around dinner, or outside around a camp or bonfire. While I am much happier today, one still can’t help think about what was before. Achieving success and happiness goes a long ways, but ultimately you still would like to share it with folks who you grew up with and went through hard times with. However, once you begin going through your baggage and do the hard work of leaving it behind you find that you don’t as much in common with folks as you once used to, and some of the old ways become much less acceptable when it comes to kitchen table or campfire talk.

Overall, the happiness, success, and balance I have found outweighs the longing for people from my past. I enjoy the stability. I enjoy the intellectual stimulation of seeking and sharing knowledge over rehashing the same old stories and tropes. But I do miss the people. I wish they would choose to move forward, or at least acknowledge there is a world out here. This isn’t simply about financial success for me. This is about intellectual and emotional success. This is about feeling accomplished. This is about feeling proud of who I am and what I do each day. I am by no mean winning or beating the world, but I am damn sure not letting it beat me. I am staying afloat, and damn, I am evening making a mark on the world in some small way. There is no going back after what I have seen and experienced. I have to keep driving forward. I wish that I could share my success with everyone that I love and care for, but ultimately this won’t always be possible. On the bright side of all of this. I have learned that leaving some folks behind actually opens up new doors for others to enter in my life, and I am finding that these folks tend to be more constructive, sane, and contribute in much more positive ways to my world. Allowing me to reach entirely new levels of happiness, success, and intellectual stimulation which really means the world to me right now.