What does success look like as we flail towards hell in a handbasket?
I interpret that phrase to mean a lack of accountability, a lull into complacency, passivity – a space between being trapped and self-imposed constraints. In looking up the phrase a painting from 1515 is referenced, “Hieronymous Bosch painting “The Haywain” (c. 1515) (in the Prado, Madrid) illustrates a large cart of hay heading to Hell. The cart is drawn by ‘infernal beings that drag everyone to Hell’.” I believe it.
In the face of seemingly fated self-destruction for humanity, how do we conceive of success?
I am reaching a self-imposed deadline for considering what course my life should take on next. I can say that I was very successful as a high school teacher. In the aftermath of imploding my life, I need to assess, measure in some way, put into contrast what this version of my life shows.
I outlined danger signposts such as failing to pay my mortgage, getting new credit cards, serious illness, medical bills, depressive episode lasting too long – so I have not FAILED.
But what might it mean to SUCCEED? The parameters of success are more fluid, amorphous, malleable, and want to camouflage themselves as forms of failure.
45 was elected during this life implosion. When I made the decision to implode, it was under the possible guise of continuity, liberals self-congratulatory for the first woman president, war in the Middle East, Tesla batteries. But if 45 could “win”, if the world was topsy-turvy, and to win was something shared with 45, maybe then the better choice was to fail. Many of the people in my orbit dislike the concept of failing, they tell me it is all a lesson to learn, a choice not to make next time, a place to reflect from. But I see nothing wrong with FAILURE. It simply means that I am not good at a thing. I failed at playing little league baseball. I failed at learning to play the guitar. I failed at learning how to write in French. I failed at understanding chess. It is a normal part of life to fail.
So how do I know if this life implosion has been a failure? Does it deserve more time? Am I willing to risk more? How long can I last feeling like a failure? Or how much more failing do I have in me?
BUT how to view it within this time of blatant, world scale, obvious, advertised complete failure that this nation is demonstrating?
Would we rather take a train to hell, ride a unicycle, take an Uber to hell? Or does sitting for too long, in limbo, in that handbasket just make us fling ourselves to hell?