Achievement

Nu Couché au coussin Bleu, one of the finest examples of reclining nudes by Modigliani, 1916

What does achievement mean? What have you achieved and by what standards will you be judged?

Will you be found wanting and if so should you care?

These thoughts came to me as I wandered the lanes and fields today, pondering such future as may be left to me.

I suppose at the back of my mind was the bewilderment I felt after watching The Medici.

I wondered what it must be like to be a modern day equivalent, a mover and shaker on 21st Century Earth. A Rain Maker at the hub of some bewilderingly complex wheel of modern commerce.

Or some meglamaniac, corrupt politician, clinging to power and repelling all boarders.

I thought about what sort of person I would like to have been, in an ideal world of my own choosing. What would I have liked to have done with my life? What would I like to have achieved?

I proceeded to write a long post, sitting in the garden and then I realised what negative and destructive nonsense I had written.

So I just sat and thought about it for a bit. Meditated, if you like. Chewed the cud. Got my thoughts in order.

I pottered into the kitchen and attempted to clear up the usual awful mess left by my wife after an afternoon of bread making and brewing jams. She is an excellent cook and homemaker but never seems very determined when it comes to the cleaning up part. Well, of a messy kitchen anyway.

I had written about non achievement, I suddenly realised. I had written a long list of complaints about every aspect of my career and so, secretly, somewhere I obviously felt myself to be found wanting by the Medici.

So with my hands buried in a dish of soapy water, I shuffled about my allotted tasks and suddenly the lights came on!

Eureka! Stuff the Medicis and their modern counterparts. I suddenly realised what achievement meant. To me.

Achievement is to be at peace with yourself. Achievement is not to have regrets. Achievement is to accept your life and to avoid comparing yourself to anybody or anything else.

It is to have achieved some measure of happiness, to have done no harm to those around you. To have done a little good if possible.

It is not about fame or wealth. It is not about discovering at the age of 64 that chicken is “finger licking good” like Colonel Sanders did. It is not about marketing the Boneless Banquet to a grateful world.

Suddenly the world became brighter. The sun peered through the metaphorical clouds, all became clear.

An epiphany indeed. Apart from trying to be nice to people (tough task), I shall fill my life with feeling good. About myself, the world and everyone in it.

I shall go to Tuscany. I shall learn the piano properly. I shall drink in everything I love while minding my own business and ignoring the rest of the world as far as I am able.

I shall be at peace with myself.

And enjoy Modigliani while I am still able.

9 Comments

  1. A soulful journey, with which I can identify. With respect to kitchen duties, my wife does close to 100% of the food prep for dinner, and I gratefully do the cleanup. I’m more efficient at it anyway. Glad sommar.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Achievement is to be at peace with yourself. Achievement is not to have regrets. Achievement is to accept your life and to avoid comparing yourself to anybody or anything else.” That is the best description.
    .
    For too many people it is about money. I believe that you have enough money when you can meet your needs. You will never have enough money to fulfill your desires. Personal satisfaction with a job well done is itself s great achievement.
    .
    You will never achieve perfection. Pursuing perfection is like chasing a mirage in the desert.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My attitude leans Epicurean, and what you write here accords well with it. Enjoy the simple pleasures according to your own standard, and let others enjoy it according to theirs. The world would be a much kinder place if we all did that.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Having just turned down some consultancy work I am pondering a lot on what I do want to “achieve” in this phase of my life. I was going to comment on your post with some of these thoughts, but what you wrote has made me realize that I may not yet have clarity on this. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes. It does require a lot of thought. I get days when I feel I have arrived and others when I am not so sure. On balance I believe I will probably just retire and bathe in art, music and mysticism. I think that will probably provide purpose enough. I would love to hear your thoughts when you are ready.

      Like

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