The older I get, the less I will enjoy any kind of accomplishment.
When I was voted class favorite in the fifth grade I remember running with joy. When the cast list for the big musical went up in college and my name was next to Tevye, my knees buckled and I immediately found a phone to call my parents. When I got into grad school I jumped up and down. Literally jumped. Up and down in one place.
Tomorrow I have a meeting with a theater about a play of mine that is being produced. I haven’t jumped and down about it. I haven’t run with joy. Today I found out that I passed a state test which will allow me to accept an elementary teaching job that my household badly needs me to get. I was very nervous about the test and it was harder than I thought it was going to be. It was a general education test so there was everything on it EXCEPT the thing I’ve been the most educated in. There was Math and Science and Social Studies and Language. So today my boys and I were in line to see Stuart Little at the Alamo Drafthouse close to our place and I got the email that my test score had posted. I went to the website and looked and it said that I’d passed. I looked at my nine year old, Christopher, and said, “I got the job.” He smiled. I offered my hand and he slapped it, giving me five. Then I bought our tickets and we went into the movie. Again, no jumping. No running. Just a couple of texts to family after the movie. (They’re strict about no texting at the Alamo Drafthouse).
Which isn’t to say that I’m not grateful. I definitely am. In fact, I’d argue that I’m more grateful for these things than the previous ones… the school stuff, the college stuff, any of the other theatre or job stuff. But I have this fear that because of time, because of age, because of something, I’m not enjoying it the way I should… these milestones, these accomplishments. Maybe it’s those two Minnesota winters that did it.
It’s good. This is good.
Perhaps I’ve learned how fleeting that first moment is. When the cast list goes up, or the phone rings. And putting all of your expectation into those moments doesn’t lead to anything lasting. (And come on, that’s not gratitude. That’s easy, gratitude is hard. Am I grateful for the past three years, professionally? No I am not. But I’m working on it and someday I will be.) Those moments happen fast and they feel good but then they’re over and now who are you? Now what are you? Now why are you? It’s the doing, not the getting. And besides, you should act like you’ve been there before. Don’t jump and down. Don’t run around like a maniac. Be grateful, give your kid a high five, and just watch Stuart Little.
But now I’m reminded of my five year old.
And no wonder he doesn’t want to grow up.