I’m 70 Years Old, Unemployed and a Complete Success

Success means doing the best we can with what we have. Success is the doing, not the getting; in the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be.” — Zig Ziglar

The Work Begins

I first attempted entering the workforce when I was a clueless 15-year-old after being offered a chance to drive a three-wheeled ice cream cart around the neighborhood, enduring the non-stop tinkle of Brahms’ Lullaby. It didn’t pay much–$1.25 an hour, to be exact–but what the heck. I got all the ice cream I could eat and flirted with girls who ran up to me, their allowance clutched in their fists. For the first time in my life, I was the center of attention. Besides, isn’t that what you’re supposed to do? Get up in the morning and go to work? But, it only lasted until the end of summer. Not much of a career.

The Greatest Job I’ve Ever Had

During my junior year of high school, I was introduced to skiing when our ski club sponsored a week of dry land lessons after school behind the girls gym, followed by 2 weekend trips to Table Mountain in the San Gabriel mountains; all for $9. It took less than a day. I was hooked. So, after completing my associate’s degree, I headed for the local mountains for the great outdoors. Somehow, I convinced Dick Kuhn, the owner of Snow Summit in Big Bear Lake, to hire me as a ski patrolman. “Got any experience?” said Kuhn. “No, but I have a CPR card and I just passed first aid last week,” I said.

Drugging, Drinking and Disco Meets Exercise

By the end of the 1970s, I was looking for a new direction. After years of drinking, partying and occasionally earning a living cutting women’s hair, I decided I needed something more. I was uncomfortable with the idea that my lasting legacy only survived as long as it took my clients’ hair to grow out — about two weeks. Then the light went on.

The Meaning of Success

The point is, success often presents itself from all directions, during unique interludes. When you least expect them. As hard as I tried to follow the proven blueprint for achieving the American Dream, I was never quite content with owning a suburban house with a white picket fence, 2.5 kids and a dog pooping in the front yard.

Allen Smith is an award-winning writer living in Oceanside, California and has published thousands of articles for print, the web and social media.