When it comes to the cost of success stories, I think a lot of the focus goes to those in the public eye, such as celebrities. We get insight into what that looks like according to their world. Some of us may then try to understand, yet it still feels so out of touch for us. Have we ever heard stories about the cost of success from everyday people? The ones that achieve success in their respective fields, or even within their families.
Not only am I a first-generation college graduate, but also a first-generation success story. When I look around at my life now, I sit in admiration and think, “Wow, I’m really doing it.” While sometimes it blows my mind in a good way, I have to admit that there are times when I think, “Wow, I’m doing it… but I’m alone.”
They say it’s lonely at the top, well I’m still climbing, and newsflash; the climb can be lonely too. Sitting here in my first home, sometimes I feel bad for the achievements that brought me here. Mainly because of all the things, or shall I say, the people I had to leave behind to get here. My mother, my father, my sisters, my best friend, and my nephews. Sometimes phone calls aren’t enough. I know what you’re thinking. Just jump on a flight! However, if I did that every time I missed them then this wouldn’t be a story about the cost of success. Instead, it would be a story about how I blew everything I built in a month 😂. Also, it wouldn’t give me time to settle in to this new life I’ve curated.
Nonetheless, These are the people who were there for me through my darkest depression after college. I came home, and the love of my family revived me. I know I wouldn’t be here if not for them. Now I know it wasn’t always peaches and potpourri either, but I miss the love I had right in the next room if I wanted it.
One of my fondest memories during this season was when I would pick my nephews up once a week, and we would go to the park and play until the park closed. I knew that around them and in a public park, the tears would stop for at least 4 hours. These people, my loved ones, helped heal me. So much so that sometimes I have remorse about leaving them to achieve success. It’s as if I was saying that they weren’t enough. You can imagine that it causes me quite a bit of turmoil when I think about it.
My father recently retired from the night job that he had for 20+ years, and I think about all the time he has now. How we could actually spend time together if I were there. I feel like I’m missing out on one of the biggest gifts – time. And yet here I am succeeding – alone.
I know they are proud of me, and they love me. I also know that they wish I could’ve stayed. What a sacrifice to love someone so much that you don’t express your heart’s desire for them to stay. You withhold that desire because you want them to go and accomplish all they set out to do.
You see, the cost of success affects everyday people as well. Success will move you out of your comfort zone, as it wants you all to itself; It will relocate you to achieve it. Success will separate you from your loved ones and place you on a completely different path from everyone else’s. Success will literally turn you upside down as it turns your life right-side up.
I am just an everyday person. A first-generation success story working through bouts of guilt for achieving success away from all I know. And while I will continue to push forward and climb to new heights, I will also continue to mourn all I have lost during my climb in pursuit of success. With every sacrifice, I will continue to climb, hoping that the generations that are here now, and the future generations that come from me will benefit from the fruits of my labor. I climb, with the vision of them having more than I ever did replaying in my head. Tearfully I climb as I see my offspring at the top, beginning their journey from the highest of heights rather than from a deficit.
Though it may be hard for me now, and though at times I may feel alone. I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in me will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6) To the everyday person reading this, know that you’re not alone. Nor are you crazy for going as hard as you do to achieve something you’ve never seen before.
Know that even everyday success stories come with a cost. And although we may never see it in public news, to your loved ones, you’re already standing center stage with the spotlight beaming on you. Your every move inspires someone in close proximity to you, to dream a little bigger and rise a little higher.
I hope as you learn to shed your success guilt that you’ll also learn to love your new coat of success. And when you reach the top (because you will) throw the rope down and watch your mother, your father, your sisters, your best friend, and your nephews climb up to experience the view from the top with you.
–Simply Janeen ❤️