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.