The other day I was watching old episodes of Criminal Minds and one of the characters, Spencer Reid, noted that he had just turned 27 and had doctorates in Mathematics, Engineering, and Chemistry along with BAs in Psychology and Sociology as well as worked for the FBI saving lives as a member of the Behavioral Analysis Unit. I just turned 27 in March and haven’t done any of those things. A feeling of failure washed over me, a feeling I feel every year around this time.
Every since I graduated from college, birthdays have always brought me down. They are a yearly reminder of all the things I thought I would do with my life. All the things I failed to accomplish. In high school I was so sure I’d be ‘someone’. I planned to have my first book written by 22, be a successful lawyer slash doctor slash dancer slash actor slash whatever else I was interested in at 16. But I haven’t done any of those things.
But this year was the first year that the feeling of failure didn’t last long. I realized that I am someone. I may not be famous and I may not have done all the things my 16 year old self imagined, but I have become someone I’m really happy with. I’m Mom and Wife, two of the most important titles I could have. I’m Teacher and have had the opportunity to help some of the most amazing students. This year I realized I needed to change my definition of accomplished.
How do you define accomplished?