There must be something about turning 46 that causes men to question where they find themselves in the arc of life achievement, because a piece written by a soon-to-be-46 venture capitalist certainly resonates with this soon-to-be-46 year old. Maybe it's the beginning of what they call a mid-life crisis. From the piece:
most of the time I think of myself as a failure.
when I’m optimistic, I think maybe I’m just a late bloomer.
I went to college early, and found out that performing well wasn’t always based on being smart. hard work and regular, consistent effort was also required… and I wasn’t really very good at those things. I also had a lot of trouble in college with too many fun things to do… many of which didn’t involve school. I got really good at playing foosball, pool, frisbee, and going to lots of parties and making friends, but I kind of barely made it to graduation. altho I did make dean’s list later in college, I was also on probation a few times, and I spent a lot of time doing “recreational activities” (ahem) which caused a lot of pain and hassle for me, and probably even more for my family. I got through those times, but I started to think about all the things I was supposed to be, and the reality was that I wasn’t quite getting to the goals that had been expected. I didn’t become an astronaut, or an astrophysicist, or a great singer or dancer or pianist, I didn’t end up in politics, I didn’t join the peace corps, I didnt get a Phd or even a masters degree…
it would have been easy at any point in this journey to rationalize my limited success, and accept being a small cog in a bigger wheel, at likely much better pay and much less stress. but I was still hoping I had a little fire in the belly, and maybe some gas left in the tank to make something more of myself, before I ended up with just a broken spirit and a comfortable life.
I don’t mean to whine or bemoan my lot in life – I’ve been far more than lucky, and I’ve had a great time on this planet. I have nothing to complain about, nor will it be the end of the world if all I get to do in the next 30-40 years is to breathe in the air. all things said, it’s been a wonderful life.
but I’m not giving up yet.
I’m still betting my epitaph will read “late bloomer”, and not “failure”.
wish me luck 🙂