Years ago, my son and I were waiting to cross a street in Santa Monica and I noticed an "Obey" (Andre the Giant sticker) on the crosswalk light pole.
"Alex! I went to school with that kid!"
"He's ugly", said Alex.
"No - that's Andre the Giant, I went to school with the artist who made the image."
He wasn't impressed.
When we repeated this conversation in relation to the Obama "Hope" sticker on his daddy's car, he was a little more impressed. When a similar image showed up on the cover of time magazine, even my husband was heard saying, "Mommy went to school with this artist!"
And now, "The Colbert Report"! How cool is that?
(See it on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZAhn5nMNB4 )
Basically, I like my life. And I think I'm doing OK. But I have to admit that when a former classmate gets lots of press, I not only feel a little jealousy - I start doubting myself.
Another classmate is a very successful children's book illustrator. She had a book accepted before we even graduated! Whenever I see a new book by her in Borders, again... jealousy.
I can't figure out how we develop these levels of success in our heads? When I was 15, I decided I wanted to be Indiana Jones... and a children's book writer and illustrator. I took classes, went to conferences, sent off book dummies, and then went to college to study Egyptology and archaeology. I went to Egypt twice, came very close, a few times, to getting my manuscripts published, started, then sold a popular rubber stamp company, survived a major illness, opened a very cool, unusual shop, and had two healthy kids (against medical advice). Success, right? So why do I feel like a failure when I read alumni newsletters? How can I hold myself to a standard that I don't even think about normally?