Adjusting to the fact that one's best simply may not be good enough has got to be one of the most difficult tasks to accomplish.
I sing. I'm not the best but I'm a good, solid choral singer. I have excellent sight reading skills and a useful range, particularly in small choirs (where I have sung everything from Alto 2 to Soprano 1). I learn my music quickly and have little patience for "note-banging". I've sung in church choirs since I was 5, in school choirs since 2nd grade, making countless all counties, in college choir, making chamber choir, and in semi-professional (but unpaid) community choirs (Eastman Rochester Chorus, Springfield Symphony Chorus). I have, for a very long time now, wanted to "make something" of my voice.
There is a paid professional chorus (we'll call it the PPC) that I've really wanted to get into. Their director runs incredibly efficient, yet not lacking in humor, rehearsals. They sing really neat music. Both my church choir director and my voice teacher sing for them and know of my goal. I overheard after church choir rehearsal today my choir director encouraging someone to audition for the PPC. And it suddenly became clear that I have been deluding myself. I'm just not at that level and I'm not going to be. And, you know what?, this is a really, really painful discovery.
I think what makes it all worse is that singing professionally was sort of my last dream that I hadn't let go of yet. I had to let go of being a flight instructor (time and money). I had to let go of being a photography professor (grad school and I didn't get alone). My graphic design business never got out of the "struggling" stage and my jewelry creation business doesn't look like it will.
Now, some would say, "well, you're a mother, that should be good enough." Well, you know, for some it may be and I respect that; for me, it ain't. I love my daughter (though she drives me nuts) but, honestly, I'm a mediocre mother. I have no patience and lose my temper easily. I find small children deadly dull. And, even more to the point, I need to be successful in my own right not viewed through the lens of someone else's success or failure.
So now, I have a night job that I'm good at but hate and at which I get no respect (not me, personally, but the task I do), a day job that I'm lousy at (and let's not even talk about the lack of respect presented by 2 year old), and no dreams left to hold onto. All that's left is a long, empty slog to the grave as a middle-of-the-road nothing.
Man, that sucks.