by Dave Williams
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 decent. I could hit the ball a mile but was a terrible runner and chasing down a fly ball in the outfield was always an adventure. At some point I suddenly understood that hitting World Series winning home runs would always remain 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, fifteen or sixteen, maybe. Once they take root doubt seeds spread like dandelions.
I wanted to be a professional actor and as a young adult some pretty knowledgeable people told me I was good enough to study hard, 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: 68 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.
Contrary to what I had always assumed I began to learn that doubt can be a comforting friend. He requires nothing more of you than acceptance.
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.