How To Underachieve And Be OK With It

So I get a mass email the other day from a college friend. She talks all about how she was going through photos of our theater days together and wondered where we all were and what we were up to. She then talks about her and her husband and their pursuits and asks us to respond with our current info.

And I think, 'Oh, this is neat! All these people I haven't heard from and now I will.'

And the emails start pouring in: "I'm in LA working as an actress," I'm the Executive Director of a multi-million dollar Reperatory Theater," and my personal favorite, "I'm finishing my MFA in Film Directing at USC and travelling the world on a documentary film project."

All this excitement and success got me thinking; what the hell have I accomplished? What have I actually done since graduation? I think the answer is "jack" and or "squat."

So, in typical blogger fashion I am asking the people who (ironically) know me better than anyone else - that's you, dear reader - to help me out on this one. Have I accomplished anything in the last five years that's worthy of note, because so help me, I can't think of a thing!

I barely earned my keep. I finally got a car. I dated and broke up with my boyfriend. But I have no tangible successes (unless you count that one time I earned third place on a Script Writing competition or my half-written novel that I haven't touched since December).

The only thing I've done worth any merit is establish friends and contacts around the world over the internet. I have yet to actually use any of these contacts, however. I have a Bachelor's degree. I have yet to apply my education though, or for that matter, to seek any further education (and I was voted "Most Likely To Succeed in My Field" by the Faculty of my Department at graduation). God, this is depressing. I'm sorry to make you all suffer, but I have to honestly look at my life for a minute.

Somebody remind me why am I such a wash out? Why do I have nothing to show for myself and why hasn't this bothered me very much? Why am I OK with underachieving? Because , quite honestly, I am. I know I could go to New York and get a Film degree. I know I could fly to LA and hit the Hollywood machine. I know I could pound the pavement for directing gigs in town and carefully craft a resume worthy of the approval of my peers, but do I want to? No. I don't.

So why not?

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Blogger Steve DeGroof said...

Let's see:
You've maintained a blog.
You've continued your studies.
You've recorded a number of songs.
You've met some interesting people.
You've given out fabulous prizes.
You've learned that you've got balls.

30/8/06 14:14  
Blogger Worldgineer said...

I bet not one of them has sang Man of La Mancha, or taken a picture of a little car that looks like a big car. What about the time you went to NOLA for the American Idol competition? Sure, you didn't win, but I think the effort is worth far more than being accepted by that lot.

Sure, you don't have the boring regular accomplishments and credentials, but that just means you live your life more artistically than your peers.

30/8/06 14:20  
Anonymous blanche d'al monde said...

You have written, you have researched, you have sung for many appreciative audiences, you have composed some incredible songs, you have encouraged a lot of other people (like me to get writing again with your NaNoWriMo precedent and example), you are a social marvel in groups, you are currently involved in leadership for a Women's Retreat, and you are an excellent photographer.
But it is my firm conviction that your destiny, calling, or whatever is still greater than any one of these areas, and you are still amassing the life skills and knowledge you will need for your "mark on the world." Bigger dreams take more time.
Life is not wasted which is not spent in academia or the corporate world. Lessons from real life and from God are the real universal truths.

30/8/06 16:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How to underachieve and be OK with it? By learning something new almpst every day.

I was an underachiever until the age of 42, my main talents appearing to be amassing offspring and ex-wives. Now I hide behind the fact that I provide technical support for the Sales Department in the USA. Sounds good, but I still procrastinate and laze around just as much as I ever did.

30/8/06 18:09  
Blogger Egbert said...

How to underachieve and be OK with it? By learning something new almost every day.

I was an underachiever until the age of 42, my main talents appearing to be amassing offspring and ex-wives. Now I hide behind the fact that I provide technical support for the Sales Department in the USA. Sounds good, but I still procrastinate and laze around just as much as I ever did.

30/8/06 18:10  
Blogger Egbert said...

Oh, sorry. tired old engineer baffled by new technology. I can't delete the anonymous thing, feel free. And this, if you want to keep things tidy.

30/8/06 18:12  
Blogger Worldgineer said...

Do you have any dreams, [k]? I mean real dreams that you'd love (not just kind of like) to fulfill? If so, make it happen. We all know you can.

But if you don't... well, that probably means that life is pretty good. Bask in that.

30/8/06 18:14  
Anonymous other sarah said...

From this entry alone, I know that in the past 5 years you have:

Created an internationally renowned educational tool (You ARE teaching people something new almost every day, you know.)

Single-handedly attempted to save the environment (No car. You might even say "Local Greenpeace Chapter President" but that might be stretching it a bit.)

Left broken hearts in your wake. (ex-bf.)

Started your magnum opus. (Emphasize the novel-half-written/glass-half-full aspect.)

Expanded your international network of contacts. (No need to emphasize that you haven't used any! Though if you ever need anything in DC, let me know.)

Honestly, for what it's worth, I feel like emails like the one you got are more for the sender than the recipients. It's passive-agressive bragging. (For the sake of your friend I hope it isn't, and I don't mean to be negative here, but...) It's like when someone moves and sends out their "I've moved!" email announcement.

"Hi all! Just wanted to give you our new address and phone number. Yep, the old 5-bedroom just wasn't enough for us and the 17 orphans we adopted from Nova Scotia. Plus, the tax liabilities on our incomes were so huge, it really was the best investment for us to buy a bigger place. (Who knew a raise could be such a pain?!? :) So you can find us now on Maple Drive, in the big mansion on top of the hill. The old owners were moving to a retirement home, so they were looking to move it quick, and we got such a good deal! Plus, the kids are all within walking distance of their magnet school, their afternoon quizbowl practices, and their weekend service projects. Not to mention the Olympic training center for the oldest three, who are hoping to be in Beijing in 2008. That's all from the Smith family-- do let us know how you all are doing!"

So all that to say (in the longest comment ever)-- my serious answer is, if you like these people and want them to know how you are, tell 'em what's up. "I live here, I work here, I like this, I might do that, I'm happy." The end. Your life is good, and you don't have to prove it via a mass email forward.

30/8/06 19:37  
Blogger Diva said...

In addition to everything above, you educate and entertain us every day with your wit and wisdom. You have a very loyal following. You're far from a wash out.

And most importantly, you seem happy.

31/8/06 00:25  
Blogger Afro Assault said...

Just make up a bunch of crap. I don't mean stuff like "I landed a role in the new Scorsese film" or anything like that, I'm talking things that NOBODY will believe.

You defeated Godzilla with a hot cup of coffee. You overthrew the government of some tiny nation near Russia, and sold the land back to them for a box of Krispy Kreme donuts. Don't forget about the time you walked onstage during a ballet and bludgeoned a dancer to death with an axe handle in front of everybody, then got away with it because you were wearing a shirt with a picture of a tree on it and no one could see you.

31/8/06 03:24  
Blogger Steve DeGroof said...

//You defeated Godzilla with a hot cup of coffee.//

Nonsense! She didn't defeat Godzilla with coffee. It was chai.

31/8/06 07:45  
Anonymous uncle jim said...

this is pretty personal, but you impress me all to heck. what other person in blog-o-land would invite a strange old guy from indiana, and his wife, to your brother's place for breakfast with your mom & dad, other sibs and friends? you blew my socks off on that one...and we had a great time, too!!!!

now that speaks to the inner person as well as the one we see. and here on this site, look at all the nuts that hang-out here. who of your former class-mates can claim all of us? NONE!

as a coincidence, i just this morning received a forward of a an 'essay' by a nephew in TN on "why i do triathalons". in it he tries to explain the reason for putting it all on the line to point of puking when you enter the race.

he acknowledges that there may be times you can lay back a little and do something just for the pleasure, but thinks we need to be going for the gold if we're in the race. of course you can be training until you find the race you want to enter.

so keep training until you see the race that is the one you want to get into ... then put it all on the line.

31/8/06 08:26  
Blogger Worldgineer said...

And all this time I thought you really were her uncle jim.

31/8/06 09:26  
Anonymous uncle jim said...

thanks, worldgineer ... we'd be proud to claim her as a niece

31/8/06 11:30  
Anonymous Andrew said...

You've kept people entertained from all over the world, and you seem to be a genuinely nice person..thats worth a lot!

31/8/06 11:48  
Blogger k_sra said...

So, lemme see: I have a fan base of nutters who I will invite to pancakes, I entertain people senselessly via the internet because I can, I have half-started a lot of big things and thereby we all assume I can finish them, and my Mom thinks I'm awesome.

So, really, all's right with the world! (except maybe the bit about leaving broken hearts in my wake. I don't think of that as any kind of accomplishment. A marriage would be an accomplishment, but not broken hearts) And I can just jolly well stop worrying about it.

So I think I will.

Thanks for your healp!

31/8/06 12:08  
Blogger k_sra said...

or help, as the case may be.

31/8/06 12:09  
Anonymous uncle jim said...

"... for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health ..."

sounds pretty good to us [your loyal fan-base]!

31/8/06 14:20  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Editor-in-chief of an on-line publication valued at $10,161.72.

1/9/06 10:59  
Blogger gnomethang said...

//So, lemme see: I have a fan base of nutters who I will invite to pancakes,//

Ooh Goody!.

(actually this might be difficult to organise even if I were to be invited!)

5/9/06 14:45  
Blogger Worldgineer said...

Perhaps we can set up some sort of international pancake mailing contest.

5/9/06 15:05  

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