But those are all personal. The goals - and achievements - come from within. Not everything in this Vale of Tears is so neat and simple.
I remember New Year's Eve 1999. 2cents and his family had come down from Yankeeland to visit. We were sitting on my front porch as midnight struck, marveling at the 70° weather. At midnight. As the neighbors lit off fireworks to welcome the new Millennium*.
I remember thinking, things are going too well. It can't last.
And it didn't. But it became the new "average". The benchmark for "normal". That's hard when you are by temperament a "fixer". I've had success in my career because I can get things back on the rails. But you can only fix things that you have control over.
Kids, parents, the economy, none of these are controllable, and yet the new "average" is never far from your thoughts. The Buddha says that all unhappiness comes from two sources: fear and desire. Desire to live up to the new "average" is something that he would have clearly understood these two and a half millennia ago.
The other day the lovely and mystified Mrs. Borepatch said that she just didn't understand this whole motorcycle thing. She also said the nicest thing she's said about me in a while: we met up for a drink after work, and I rode the bike. She was there first and saw me walking up in boots, motorcycle jacket, carrying the helmet, and said I looked "hawt". Very nice to hear, but that's not what this whole Motor Madness thing is about.
It's that you can't control what you can't control. It's that when things are beyond you, and it's not you, then let go of the fear and desire. It's that if you are the only one who can see that you are happy, then be happy. The road whispers, Roll Me Away.
She doesn't understand this, but I expect that she'd be horrified if she did. And we rode clean out of sight.
For now, I'll settle for "hawt". Not sure if I can control that, but that's personal, under my control. Maybe it's even the new "average". I can hope, can't I?
But this seeing the spin of the curve ball, and knowing I can hit this isn't just something from the past. Joel hit that ball. Tony Cassie sure did. Looking at them, in the dark of the night I suspect I could, too.
Mrs. Borepatch would be horrified by that. That new "average".
Just then I saw a young hawk flyin'Some day. Maybe.
and my soul began to rise
And pretty soon
My heart was singin'
Next timeBecause it's the new "average".
We'll get it right
* Yeah, I know. They lit them off the following New Year's Eve to welcome the new Millennium, too.