I am motivated, professionally, by this idea that I can always do better — or, more accurately, that whatever level of accomplishment I can currently claim isn’t enough. In a sense, I don’t allow myself to enjoy whatever success I’ve attained; I’m forever re-assessing my status or beating myself up for not yet having reached some higher, better plateau that seems to lie perpetually just beyond my grasp. I don’t let up on myself.
This isn’t bragging, nor is it career advice. It’s a strategy that got me where I am today, but it’s exacted its own kind of price. As much as I try, and as intent as I am on reshaping my behavior, I have a difficult time appreciating what’s good about my life. And this careerist sensibility bleeds over into my personal arena, too. It’s caused me to have a hard time creating consistently meaningful relationships with the people I care about. Or maybe this perpetual dissatisfaction was hardwired into me deeper down, turning me into an efficient desk jockey on the one hand, while on the other hand leading me to continually seek other, ‘better’ relationships — meanwhile becoming disaffected and disconnected from those I care about.
Either way, it’s not a sustainable strategy for living. I realized lately that I haven’t done a good job appreciating what I have or, especially, who I have in my life. I’m not completely without gratitude, but I have spent a lot of time in the company of people supposedly near to me while daydreaming about being elsewhere — thinking about design, or playing on my computer, or just not being present. On the whole, I think that I would have had a much nicer time these past three and a half decades if I’d just been mentally there, if I’d really appreciated the people around me, let them know that I was really with them, and happily so. I would have had a lot more fun, and I think those in my life would have, too.
I’m going to start doing a better job with that. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.