An unrepentant underachiever

by Dave Williams
February 8, 2019

I don’t remember when I first realized that I was never going to be special. I don’t mean as a person. I’m a good guy and I’m proud of that but when we’re very young we imagine a world of glory and achievements just waiting for us to arrive and pick them up as fate has arranged.

As kids we’re told we can be anything we want to be. It’s a lovely lie.

I wanted to be a major league baseball star. I daydreamed about it for years and played the game joyously. I was good, too. I could hit the ball a mile but at some point I suddenly understood that hitting World Series winning home runs would always happen only in my imagination because I could never be good enough to play center field for the Giants.

The seed of doubt was planted in me early. Fourteen or fifteen, maybe.

I wanted to be a professional actor and as a young adult some pretty knowledgeable people told me I was good enough to get better and succeed. I’m still not sure what stopped me from trying. Fear of failure, I guess. Though, my wife, the lovely and feisty Carolann Conley-Williams, says I actually fear success. It’s an interesting possibility.

And that’s where I am now: 67 years old, most of my futures behind me and sometimes still wondering why I’ve carried self doubt with me through a lifetime.

I’ve had a very good radio career. I’ve worked morning shows in major markets and learned my craft as well as anyone in the business. I say that with expert objectivity. I’m very good but I’m not great.

I can write but I don’t. I want to but I don’t burn for it. Writers always say they write for their own satisfaction but I think that’s a nifty bit of self deception. What’s the point in writing if lots of other people don’t read your work and love it?

Writing is hard, lonely work fraught with doubt.

I describe myself in social media as, “Happy husband, proud dad and grandpa, unrepentant underachiever.” I wrote it to be charmingly humble but it has suddenly dawned on me that it’s true. I am an underachiever in one sense but I love my life, every bit of it. I wouldn’t change a thing. Not one instant.

Pushing 70 I’m beginning to understand that finding glory in one’s ordinariness can be a deeply satisfying thing.

My old friend, doubt, brought me here.

Pictures courtesy of the free online photo share source, Unsplash.com.

 

 

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Author: Dave

Dave Williams is a radio news/talk personality originally from Sacramento, now living in Dallas, Texas, with his wife, Carolann. They have two sons and grandsons living in L.A.

5 thoughts on “An unrepentant underachiever”

  1. I love this piece. It’s thoughtful and insightful and in the eyes of someone who works with you sometimes, it’s not entirely true. You have been far too humble in your self-assessment.

  2. Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from Gordon B Hinckley, Oct 1984: “Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he’s been robbed. Most putts don’t drop. Most beef is tough. Most children grow up to be just people. Most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration. Most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. Life is like an old time rail journey–delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.”

  3. This entry of “…Aquarius” spoke to me loudly. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Your writing is a reflection of your life, but it often shines a light that allows your reader to see a clearer Image of themselves as well.

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