On Being a Failure.


An old high school acquaintance told me recently that I was a failure.  At the time we were both screaming very mean things back and forth, as it was a heated business venture that had gone terribly wrong because she’s just simply a crazy bitch.  But, that’s not the point of this story.  I could have taken that hard, and it might have made me take a step or two back, because this was coming from a very financially successful person.  She was doing a stupid job (in my opinion which I will keep to myself in case any of you are doing the same job) and making a ton of money doing it.  But at what cost?  She had no husband or boyfriend (not that I do), but her mother had raised her daughter.   She truly is a miserable person who has lost her ability to be compassionate, kind, sensible or even sane.  We had done a business deal that I ended up making money at and she felt she should have gotten a piece of.   The fact is,  she didn’t realize that there was money to be made in the deal originally and gave it away, then spun out.  So, to her, I’m a failure.  In many rights, she is correct.  I, at almost 50 years of age have nothing and can barely make rent.  I manage to take care of my daughter, but sometimes our cable or phones get cut off.  I told her I was not driven by money.  And that is true.  I don’t want to make so much money that I don’t have a life.  Why?  You can’t take it with you.  At the end, we have our memories, our children, the life we have lived.  What’s the point if we spent it all yelling and screaming at people and working endless hours?

The fact that she called me a failure brought me to an old thought I had about the word “has-been”.  I just don’t understand that word.  Usually it refers to celebrities or musicians that have had great success and now are out of the limelight.  So that makes them a “has-been”?  A “failure”?  Many of these people are perfectly happy with a great family life, doing other things that are probably much more fullfilling.  It’s such a societal phenomenon that people who have achieved something that most of us will never, ever hope to achieve are considered has-beens because they are no longer on the billboard charts, or winning Oscars.  I think about this because I had a little success in my field.  Not so much monetarily, but recognition by very influential people  in my industry.  Did the woman who called me a failure achieve this kind of recognition?  No.  So success is subjective.  I don’t think we should judge people on the car they drive, the house they own or the money in their account.  That all can go away at any moment.  I, however, am left with amazing memories, a well adjusted child and a press book to put her life to shame.

So, I say to Bjork, Stone Roses, The Fonz, and countless others that I can no longer remember because they are forgotten, “cheers”.  Here’s to the good life, to a life well lived and huge success.  Life changes, we change with it, but if you have ever accomplished something you should be proud of, there is no time limit on it.  Cherish it forever, chances are you are in an elite small crowd.  Don’t let others call you a failure because you have moved on or aren’t still in the limelight.

Christie Martin Designs Press
Christie Martin Designs Press

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