You’ll never make it (and why this is perfectly okay)

“A man running with a briefcase at Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport” by Andy Beales on Unsplash

Since I was a kid, I’ve had this idea of ‘making it’ someday.

Like, one day, I’d wake up and realize…

Wow… I have a gigantic house that’s modern and awesome and nothing is ever out of place. I have the perfect relationship. Financially, I’m set for life. My kid(s) are perfectly behaved and my wife adores me, endlessly. I have a few cars in the garage. My dog likes me. I make millions while I sleep. Life is good…

(I could go on here, but I’m sure you can see where the rest of my delusion is going.)

There was this finish line. If I could just cross it, I’d be done. That would be it. I could golf and ski and read and have a lot of sex and donate to charity and vacation and relax. (I’m pretty sure this was the dream of 98% of my fellow poor white American teenage males my age.)

And for a long time, I felt like an utter failure for not having reached it (still do, when I’m not paying attention).

But having lived a little, I’ve come to know a lot of different people from many walks of life — rich, poor, and in-between. What I observed is that happiness and fulfillment are alive and well in each camp (as are misery and strife).

Here’s something I have to remind myself of, constantly:

There is no such thing as ‘making it’. (Thank goodness.)

You might get breaks. Some will be bigger than others.

But ‘making it’ is an illusion (one that’s been amplified through marketing and advertising).

You could say Jerry Seinfeld ‘made it’. But, as is documented in his 2002 documentary, Comedian, he got really bored. And so, he drummed up entirely new acts and went out to these little hole-in-the-wall comedy joints to start all over again.

The movie shows him bombing. It shows footage of him stuttering and freezing up on stage while trying out these new acts.

But a part of him loves it. It needs to keep… Going. And growing. And expressing.

People who don’t do this, die to life.

By realizing that he hadn’t ‘made it’ (and embracing that fact), Jerry Seinfeld found new life. And he seems really damn happy these days (I mean, have you seen his new Netflix show, ‘Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee’? That dude is a happy comedian — and that’s hard to find.)

You’ll never make it.

If those four words strike terror in your psyche, you’re looking at it wrong. Because in them is everlasting peace.

Life doesn’t stop. It’s always unfolding — always happening through us. Whether we want it to, or not.

You’ll never make it.
But you’ll always be making it.

Make it well.