“Failure does not define you,” I heard too many times. What they did not tell me also, is that success does not define you either. I was told so often that achievement was the objective in life and I tried to reach success. Eventually I failed and like a fool, I walked like one. Why did I let it define me? Everyone warned against it. It wasn’t failing that did the damage. It is the ridiculous expectation that accomplishments would make me content. There is a rush that comes in obtaining achievements, but it is only temporary. There is so much pressure to be somebodies that we associate it with fulfillment and joy. We want to obtain happiness and consider no alternate possibilities. We’re walking towards a black hole in a four way street. The true joys in life are overlooked because we chose to let a concept become an outline to live out. The joy in the moments was lost, the joy in giving, in inspiring; we let it all die out. We live in a give and take cycle rushing to see results. We rush so quickly we stop giving and just take. We take and take, and it is never enough. We get bored and reach higher and higher, placing our identity in the potential for fame, for money, or for power. Once we get there we won’t recognize our reflection in the mirror. We’ll try to trace back to when we lost ourselves and search for answers we never knew we needed. We never live in the moment; refusing to jump off the hamster wheel. People will say we made it and when the camera flashes we’ll force a smile made out of only muscle memory. But when the curtain falls, we’ll pick which façade to put on this time. We’ve played so many roles that finding Waldo is easier than finding our true self. I don’t want to lose myself. I want to take each moment and let it paint a genuine smile on my face. I want to give more than I take. I want my heart to remain soft and my soul open despite the brokenness it might bring. I would rather be a broken soul than a frozen statue. I want my identity to come from within my roots. I want my experiences to add pieces to the puzzle and so forth till the end. I will choose to be happy in the before, in the in between, and in the “I did it!” I refuse to wait on a concept to depict my state of mind.

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