Since the earliest I can remember, I was never one to work very hard for what I wanted. This is not to call myself lazy or overprivileged, but it’s true that a lot of things have gone well in my life. For example I cannot claim the happiest childhood, but I remember few disappointments that rattled my life. This was a combination of having a very indulgent father who showed love through gifts, a mother who was proud of my smarts (though she always tried to never let on) and so rarely objected to something I truly desired, and a natural charm that allowed me to scrape by with all other authority figures. As a result, I never learned to respect or fear authority. I never worked hard to gain approval. (Fun Fact: I also never got it.) I made friends easily and finished milestones with only passable effort.
If all this sounds wonderful to you, here’s the rub: it also means that I never truly worked hard to improve myself, to strive harder to become better than my natural self.
To be sure, I’ve done fine. There’s a lot to be grateful for and a lot to be proud of.
But as I inch further into my 3rd decade of life, the ground beneath me wobbles and shifts. It’s subtle except on days like today when it is not. I have abundant evidence now that fulfilment isn’t at all cheap or quick and that that level of success takes heart, duty, effort, endurance. It’s not imposter syndrome, but sometimes I wonder if I will be banished from my own life because I do not deserve it.
That’s silly, of course. Nonetheless, it’s a sign that I need to experience more grit and less complacency in my life. I need to feel like I have earned something. More than anything, I need to shock myself with what I’m truly capable of.