I went today to get my eyes checked. The doctor said my eyes weren’t 16 any more, but that they looked very healthy. No macular degeneration, no change in my vision, no sign of glaucoma or cataracts. This was good news, and I skipped out of there with a $10 co-pay and nothing more.
However, the doctor also said something odd to me. “I hear that your little internet thing is going well,” she said. I agreed. We’re having some growing pains and learning new things all the time, but we’ve had our desired revenue growth of 30% this year and accomplished some worthwhile things. I think things are going well. I’m not even sure that my business is a “little internet thing.”
“You finally found your niche,” she went on, “after all these years.”
I was speechless. When she and I met, I was an administrator at the university. When I had four children at home, I managed a book store. I was laid off from that job in the recession when the store closed, but then I started my business. That was a bit of a transition, I’ll admit, but still… as I’ve said before, I tend to think of myself as a successful person.
I certainly never thought of myself as someone who was searching for her niche for the past twenty or thirty years.
“My current job didn’t exist when I was in school,” I laughed. I took my good news, along with advice to have more olive oil and some fish oil supplements (apparently you can’t get enough of that just by eating fish a few times a week), and went back to work.
Choir was nice, although we did a lot of unison singing. I always feel that unison is bad for choirs: it makes it more obvious that we’re not precisely together, and half of us are always singing in an uncomfortable part of our ranges.
Afterward, La Bella and I changed the paraments. An old friend from the bass section came up and said, “It does my heart good to see you and your dad in the restaurant every week.”
He’s always at the 6:30 prayer breakfast and I always share waffles and bacon with my dad at the same time, on the other side of the restaurant. We discuss politics, technology, and my mother, who suffers from frontal lobe disorder. This is, for him, a chance to have some grownup conversation. I get to brag about my kids a little and talk about politics, about which I’m usually very careful.
My mother, who was a brilliant woman, hardly seems to exist any more. She had nothing in her life that didn’t require the frontal lobe. A different sort of woman might have been able to continue her normal life much longer. Perhaps she had too much of a niche. I don’t think she ever thought of herself as successful, though. There was always a sort of defiance about her, even though other people lionized her. It was as though she was always expecting a set down.
So is it better to feel successful and have others think you are not, or to worry that you are unsuccessful when others think you’re a celebrity?