Success versus Failure @ Age 31

by Jennifer

I meant to start this blog to create a reflection of an interesting life as:

Ghost the French Bulldog loves his treat ball!

Petsitters roaming from apartment to apartment in NYC.

Cheap fruit can be found in Japan. It may be bruised, less sweet, or cosmetically inferior to the beautiful pieces sold in supermarkets, but hey, I still found it satisfying

A couple living on the cheap, volunteering and exchanging our labor for a home while we traveled.

While I will miss all the special children that have entered my life, that I have watched grow, if I ever return to teaching, I’ll return a more gathered, happy, and resourceful educator after taking this break

A tutor in New York City, working for the 1%, and an educator looking to break ground creating free test prep materials any family to access

Success or Failure? Who’s to say living in a van, separated from my husband, traveling, changing lives for the better, isn’t a pinnacle of success in my life?

I haven’t accomplished this, but it is less an issue of failure versus success, than a reevaluation of what success is.

When I was in NYC, I was overworked and stressed much of the time:

  • There were too many Airbnb communications to reply to.
  • Petsitting requests kept rolling in that required arrangement of coverage
  • Tutoring was losing its appeal, but I was more booked than I wanted to be.
  • A sense of home was being lost on me, living in Sandy’s office between petsits. Transcience was beginning to lose its charm.
  • My relationship was starting to suffer under the duress of life feeling rote.

Less money. Less problems.

I never imagined taking on a job that paid me a fifth of what I felt I was making in NYC. I figured I’d stay on the up and ups, taking on more tutoring and petsit clients, higher rates over time. However, I crumpled up that plan and left, and since I’ve left NYC I haven’t felt dissatisfied. Not even once.

I only make enough money to pay for Sandy’s trips to visit me in the West Coast every three weeks. Today we bought flights to meet in Las Vegas in three weeks, tickets to see O – the water Cirque de Soleil, Carrot Top, and a 4 night stay in a $21/night Airbnb room a couple miles from the strip ($900), and I realized that this trip would burn through a month’s, post-tax earnings through my Tour Operator role! And yet, I don’t feel bad at all.

Believe it or not, Carrot Top is one of the hottest tickets in Vegas. He had been performing there for 12 years!!

And I’m not the only uprooting my life to live in a van. The couple in the photo above we met yesterday on the way to Venice Beach. Unable to pass, without stopping, beautiful, likely cheap, clothing blowing lightly in the breeze, hanging on a garage sale clothing rack (there likely was no breeze to cause glorious folds of fabric to rustle in the wind, but I like to imagine I saw it that way), we stopped to speak to this couple. They were selling much of their worldly belongings cause they could only take what they could fit into their house van, bound on a trip to the southern tip of Argentina – the southern most point of South America. With work visas, L-1 German for her and J-1 French for him, expiring, they decided to make the most of this break and head out on an adventure of a lifetime.

Sandy and I are living happy, fulfilling lives. They are not normal – have only resembled normal for spaces of time – but are focused on finding meaning.

Meaning often comes in taking risks, breaking the mold of what people want us to believe is success.

While I do see the value in having enough saved to protect oneself against health ailments and other life obstacles, I think meaning is about helping others.

It’s about thinking how you can make your mark on this world.

How can you not fall victim to roteness? To not being aware that you are living life?

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