Nobody likes to think of themselves as a loser, and some people might say that none of us really are losers. Some people might say that we are all winners in some way. You might be a good bowler, a good baker, you might be good at raising green beans. You might be pretty excellent with the guitar. You might just be good at drinking beer and hanging out with your friends. It’s good to have something you feel you can achieve.
When my son was in high school, I told him that I wanted him to be high achieving. I asked what he thought about that. I was always trying to get him to think of things for himself. What do you think about being a high achieving person? I asked him. I was thinking about his sister who was taking all the AP classes available and achieving some high marks.
I actually am high achieving, he told me.
Really? I said.
High school is about making friends, learning to be social, having a good time, and in all of these things I am high achieving.
He had a point.
By changing what defines success, you change whether you are successful. By his own measure and rules, he certainly was successful. He had many friends, and he was having a very good time. He was in fact, having such a good time that he had to change schools. Apparently, he was actually an over-achiever, having too much fun.
I had a plan of what I was going to do with my life. I have not achieved that plan, but rather than be a failure, I have gone on to Plan B. Most of the time, I can feel good about myself regardless of the constant flux of planning.
How much have you achieved with your life? What was plan A? In Long Day’s Journey into Night, the mother, Mary has a fairly sad life. Her husband and sons are all deeply alcoholic. Her husband’s negligence and his unwillingness to spend money have caused her addiction to morphine. One of her sons has TB and the father is unwilling to pay for a good doctor for him. You would think this would be quite enough of a reason to be sad, but what she is really upset about is that Plan A was to be a concert pianist.
Many marriages break up because someone changes the plan and the other partner is not going along with the change. You planned to be a lawyer, now you can’t become a drug dealer or a world traveler, or a transgendered person, or a social worker. If a marriage is to work, it’s because you are able to go with the changes.
If your plan is not working out, rather than declare yourself a loser, you can always come up with Plan B. Remember the first person you had a crush on? Most of us did not marry the first person we fell in love with. We went on to Plan B, C, D, some of us didn’t stop until we got to XYZ.