For all of us our lives are a series of firsts. From our first steps and words we are measured by accomplishments that are a result of work and desire. As we age we pile up those accomplishments and check them off. From graduations, to marriage, to births, to promotions we are driven to reach those milestones that for most people define their existence. But what happens when you wake up and realize that you either met those goals or accept the fact that some of what you wanted may not be achievable?
At the age of 52 I looked around and realized that I was in a spot of contentment and it bothered me. My two children were older and I knew that their long term care was reasonably secure. My wife and I have been married 23 years. I was employed by a great company in a position I was well suited for. The pending sale of my apartment house in New Orleans was going to allow my wife and I to become debt free and put the finishing touches on remodeling we had been doing to our house. We lived in a wonderful neighborhood and were blessed to be near friends that we care about deeply. I also was back in good health after a major scare a year ago.
Now none of the above is a bad thing but I realized that I was running out of mountains to climb. Professionally I was probably at my peak, in part because my wife and I moved specifically to our present community to be nearer our children, so any professional development would have to be confined to this area. I had served for years in various civic and charitable organizations and did not feel the desire to move in that direction again. I needed to reflect and find a new reason to not just get out of bed, but bolt out of it like I used to for so many years.
This blog was one answer. I like to write and I love the ability to connect with anyone in the world with the touch of a key. I finished a book I had written off and on for years. I had it edited and now I am in the process of getting it ready to be mailed to agents in the hope that it might be published. I also got back into coaching basketball, which was my first ever job.
I have been to “mountaintops” and what I discovered for me personally was that the joy was never in reaching the summit but in the climb itself. I am happy that I have achieved many of my personal goals but am equally excited about finding some new ones. Some people want to finish the race, I for one want to run until I can’t run anymore.
I now have new heights to scale and dreams that I want to pursue. For me that is true contentment.