I always wanted to achieve something with my life. That was as far as the dream went really, the what I wanted to achieve changed monthly: vet, traveller, writer, designer, you name it, I wanted to do it at some point in my youth.
Life has taken me to many places, thrown some fantastic stuff at me and I now find myself settled down with a couple of kids and no career.
Not where I envisioned myself being but somewhere I feel happy nonetheless.
But that want to achieve has never gone. That drive to accomplish something is still there and at the moment is pointing towards something do-able with the kids around. Writing and blogging.
And yet I feel the need to hide my ambition, my desire to be successful. I feel guilty, furtive even, about wanting to be good at it. I don’t feel comfortable admitting that I want to excel. Why not? What is wrong with wanting to be good at something, with wanting to achieve? Why do I feel this way?
It goes against our very Britishness I think, that feeling of suspicion we have of anyone that does good. Unlike the Americans who seem very much able to pat each other on the back and congratulate, to enjoy others success, we Brits tend to feel wary, untrusting of someone that does well.
We prefer the underdog.
If someone starts to become successful we deem them as getting above their station. You ought to just be happy being what you are now, you shouldn’t try to improve, you shouldn’t try to better yourself or you position, your career, your money, your social standing. Anything.
Is it because people worry that with it comes change? That you’ll be different, you wont be you any more and therefore you wont be worthy of that trust and friendship?
I’ve seen it many times from the sidelines when someone speaks up about wanting to be successful, is seen to be striving to achieve something. Friends drift away, talk about them in secret, make snide remarks and dismiss them with a laugh.
‘What does she know anyway?’
‘Who the hell does she think she is?’
And if you achieve it, if you actually get there, you’re not supposed to be excited about it or even happy, understatement is key. You are not allowed to admit how hard it was, how much you worked for it, you have to just shrug and pretend like you don’t know how it happened because if you admit you tried to achieve it then it makes your success tainted somehow.
So my childhood dream of being successful has not gone, it’s just hidden. Hiding in fear of being judged, of being looked down upon, of losing me friends.
Because really, I don’t have many of you to lose in the first place.