There is definitely a mountain, one for each of us,
Mine is full of rocky crops, slick with ice
And when I think I’ve got a hold on it,
Down I tumble once again.
But once I made it to the top,
I stood atop the summit, looking out across the world,
A tear ran don my cheek, knowing that was it,
I couldn’t reach much higher, all that I could do
Is fall with grace of which I don’t possess.
I have this horrible feeling that, as a human, I may have peaked. But then when I think that, I think exactly how long a lifetime is and how unknowable the future is and I wonder if there is something better still to come.
Back in 2013, I completed the Arch to Arc triathlon. I was the fourth woman to ever complete it and I was the first ever to do it without using a wetsuit during the swim section. It felt like the best thing that could ever happen, and to a certain extent, it still is the best thing. And I wonder if I could ever do anything better?
But then I also remember that I was drinking heavily and I would go back to my flat, alone, and cry as I drank to black out. And I wonder if that wasn’t actually just a living hell with a brilliant achievement plonked in the middle of it?
I’m definitely in a better place, emotionally, so surely I’m higher up my hypothetical mountain at this point in my life. And how long is life going to be? You hear about all sorts of people getting their ‘big break’ when they are past retirement age.
So, I guess what I’m saying is we can never really tell if we’ve peaked. And it’s hard to judge what makes a success. Is it being happy? Or rich? Or famous? I’m not really sure at this point. I don’t think we’ll ever know until we’re lying on our deathbeds looking back on it all.
I hope that there is more to come in the future, but I also realise that chasing that high that comes with success isn’t all that much fun anyway.
6 thoughts on “i’m starting to think i may have peaked”
I’m very glad you’re in a better place now than you were. That in itself is cause to be happy. Each part of your life lets you grow, I think. You’re absolutely right, too, that we cannot know the future. You don’t know what you’ll be doing five years from now, or even next year. Things change, after all. So speaking of ‘peaking,’ I think, can be counterproductive when we don’t know what’s coming next, if that makes sense.
Apparently Colonel Sanders was about to commit suicide in his 60s because he had failed at everything. Then he thought he’d give his business one last chance and he died a millionaire. So you never know…..
Life seems sometimes to be less of a straight-up climb than it does a journey along windy switchbacks. Sometimes you can see your potential (the peak), and other times, it seems you’re going backward, or have lost sight of the goal.
I don’t believe we peak until we choose to, and that could be right up to the moment we decide to leave this place, and go on to summit the next thing. I don’t believe in single peaks that lead to permanent and inevitable declines – just decisions to either keep journeying up the mountain, or else decide you’re done climbing.
That triathlon sounds like an incredible adventure and achievement. Maybe at that point in your emotional life, that was exactly what you needed – a mini summit, to keep yourself climbing.
I hope you keep looking for those next peaks!
I love this! Thank you x
Wows. Without a wetsuit?! – Cool, to say the least (I imagine).
Sounds like time to fly, Rachel.
I guess I don’t think much about peaks because I’m not sure what a life-peak really is. A big accomplishment is great as a big accomplishment. But there’s more to come. Yes, Colonel Sanders is an example of leading on. Grandma Moses didn’t start painting ’til she was in her seventies. Abraham Lincoln failed at just about everything except getting elected President of the USA. I’m not sure where our lives are going because I’m not sure anybody knows. And that should be okay. I hope your week at school is a rising experience. (Guess it doesn’t have to hit a peak.)