I worked as an office manager for many years, for many different companies. It was my job to make sure people had the workspace they needed when they were hired. When I started working for a successful, affluent company I noticed something very interesting that happened with a lot of the new employees.
For many years it was my dream to be a famous writer. Like, a REALLY famous writer. My idol was Jack Kerouac, and while that was partly because I loved the beauty of his writing (and still do) it was also because of the recognition he achieved. Never mind the fact that fame only contributed to his tragic downward spiral, that’s a story for another day. The point is that I wanted what he had—status, notoriety, and success.
I met a woman in my first writing program who told me about her 40th birthday. She said it was the best and worst birthday she ever had. She was so happy when she turned 30, she remembered. She had a big party on the beach and all her friends came. But ten years later she found herself sobbing all alone in her bedroom the night before she turned 40.