To the man with tears in his eyes,

Today you told me that I need to “get the Hell out of this dead end job.” I was your optometric technician, and I was bringing you back for some testing when you told me that I need to “make something of myself.”

I felt ashamed. You had known me no more than five minutes and my life had already disappointed you.

By no means am I extraordinary. I am quiet, unambitious most days, and I don’t know a lot of things. I could defend myself here and tell you that I strive every day to be exceptional at my job, but I have a feeling that wouldn’t be good enough.

The truth is, this is my happy place–the space between failure and over achievement. The calm waters of pleasantness. I don’t need amazement to have joy. What I need is the simple bliss of a cup of coffee with hazelnut creamer in the morning. I need the comfort of my dog cuddled on my chest at the end of the day as I binge watch Fixer Upper with my husband. And sometimes I need rain, snow, sun, and the smell of autumn air.

I give so much credit to the people out there who thrive on and are able to attain success in the work force. But a successful life is about more than just a successful career, and so I will not base the value of my life on that.

Maybe you heard on the radio this morning a man talking about how he had just up and left his six figure income yesterday with no plan and no two weeks notice. Two more weeks was too long to live unhappily. That to me is success.

By the end of your appointment I had learned that your wife had just been diagnosed with breast cancer and that it probably wasn’t going away. I can’t imagine the fear you both must be feeling–the memories and regrets that are flooding through your heads.

What I do know is, if and when she leaves you, it’s not going to be her accomplishments that you will miss. It’s going to be her kisses goodnight, her smile when she sees you walk through the door, her hand to hold when you’re strolling through town.