Oh, come on. I've read another whiny blog and am having an hissy fit response.
The best thing -- the VERY best thing about not succeeding in a traditional sense (making big bucks etc, becoming famous, writing a best seller, finding True Love) -- is that at a certain point, you are released from expectations. The word potential is no longer used in your presence, and admit it -- that is a hell of an annoying word.
Once you're a failure, you are released from society's notice. Henceforth you get control and are allowed to set your own versions of success. Do not shy from this task of reassigning success to something you shall control. Hey, no one else wants it.
Erase all left-over disappointment, for this is a useless bit of baggage and drags you down to the standards and expectations that no longer apply (probably never did but what the hell--you tried anyway) You will unpack those old expectations, examine each bit -- maybe hold a ceremony to empty it all. I suggest something destructive because that is satisfying. Then hey! Then fling that outdated ersatz Louis Vuitton over the edge of the nearest dumpster. Okay, speaking of failure -- that metaphor is over. No more baggage. And this is a fine goal right there, bucko.
Define your own success.
It's scary and usually not easy (or even possible) to find the words or vision. Even more of a nuisance: You'll note that practically no one else sees or cares about your success. But, yo, so what? You do. You'll know. Turn up that end-of-movie music! You get that rush, the great sigh of relief, the moment of triumph when you stand at the top of the steps admiring the view. You're the one who's beaten the odds (or not, that's fine too) but hey, you'll have the relish of newly defined success.
The credits roll, it's the end of the day and you get the slow smile, the tip of the head to acknowledge the silent applause from heaven, the happy spin in the middle of a meadow, or your kitchen, where ever it hits you. Do it again, tomorrow.
You get to build/define or break down the boundaries you'll leap. You get to define your pleasures too. For someone else it might be getting to that spa in Arizona. For you, it's getting out the door of your house at least twice in a week. Who's to say which person has a greater sense of satisfaction at taking that trip? Comparisons are odious, but still....I make them because shit, I can't seem to stop.
Stop looking around at everyone else for the answers or the pats on the back. Okay, maybe stop looking for answers at all. Shut up and do. Or if you can't do, write. And if you can't write, sing. And if you can't sing or write or tap dance or learn Spanish....Don't give up. That's a fine goal, right there. You live. That's worth a standing ovation. Give it to yourself.