Once You've Won The Gold...

...there isn't really anywhere else to go. Unless of course we someday find lifeforms on Mars that enjoy running 100 meters for the heck of it. We all peak, most long before we die. Michael Jordan's jump shot won't be winning any more rings. Bill Gates continues to make billions but it's not as if he's offered the world something revolutionary in the past 10 years.

For me, when I do well, raising the bar can create paranoia. "What if such and such was the single greatest accomplishment in my life?" Monday's post, which I'm proud of, struck a nerve with people and became an acute virus, just under 900 hits in 3 days. I barely get 900 hits most months. Minuscule yes. But in terms of my own writing, it is my greatest accomplishment to date. And it has readjusted my notions of what it means to succeed. A level I won't likely reach in the coming months. It might be years before that sort of lightening strikes again. And if I'm not careful it will taint my writing method: slow and steady–singles not home runs.

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I used to feel sorry for has-been rock stars. As if they were somehow now pathetic for still existing. When Steppenwolf come to the Linn County fair when I was a kid, I saw them as desperate old men trying to relive glory days. Maybe they were, or maybe they hadn't wrapped their identity around being a rock star. Maybe they didn't do it for the success. Maybe they just loved it whether they played for ten or ten thousand. I felt sorry for them because I was the one tying up my own identity in aspirations.

Weeks like this remind me of the pitfalls of success, that accolade is short lived and long forgotten, that even the most severely talented will someday go the way of the Buffalo, that identity wrapped around something so paltry as our accomplishments is a setup for disappointment.