Success Here Will Allow Me To Endure Mediocrity

Jeddediah Smith Campground
June 8, `80

We’ve been traveling short distances. Presently, Lisa, Jade, and I
are camped at Jeddediah Smith campground, some ten miles northeast of
Crescent City. We’re off our route’ so this state park in the northern
hills of California, with its beautiful river running through it, is
all ours. I tried fishing this morning, but no luck. Tonight I’ll try
again, this time with salmon eggs for bait. So far it has been good. I
just hope it stays that way. My knee feels good, probably because I
haven’t used it much. When we leave this campground, either today or
tomorrow, my knee will get tested. Right now, Lisa and Jade are in
town picking up the money they sent for. It’s been really good
traveling with them. We shared a bottle of wine last night.

This whole trip has been good, mainly because of no pressure. When my
knee got bad, I wanted to call it quits. I didn’t, but having made
that decision, I could then really enjoy my Pacific coast down
time—something I could never have done on previous bicycle trips.
Since I no longer had to worry about getting my eighty miles a day in,
I worried instead about what I was going to do with the rest of my life.

Yes, I’m getting older. Yes, I’m noticing it a lot more, and yes, I
acknowledge that age is going to be a determining factor in my future
plans. This is not totally negative, a limitation, yes, but not
totally negative. A long time ago, I realized that learning and
increased understanding were the only things that made me happy. Now
I’m beginning to see where that kind of thinking has brought me. If
all you want to do in life is “drink from the well,” it’s a pretty
safe bet that not much is going to get accomplished. I might gain
enough understanding to allow me some happiness and freedom, but I now
know that however much understanding I acquire, it won’t be totally

Change is constant, and in terms of age, irreversible. Growth demands
flexibility, and the aging process does not accommodate that kind of
change very well. I hope things get better. I hope I continue to
expand my horizons, but a personal horizon, when viewed
objectively—bares no fruit. Few comforts will surround my twilight
hours. With no money, prestige, or honor—the stuff of a “good eulogy,”
a “gentle passing into the night,” if indeed that is even possible,
will not be easy. (For the life of me, I don’t know why Dylan Thomas
preferred rage.) So, here’s the question, when faced with all these
discouraging and disappointing scenarios, what am I to do? I must
“retool.” I must relearn the value of personal success. I must relearn
how to appreciate the “small stuff.” I must learn how to stay in tune
with realizable dreams, with friends I have not yet met, and with
music I have not yet heard. Success here, I believe, will allow me to
endure mediocrity, as it allows me to savior the “small stuff.” Age
has a way of shoving reality down your throat. I guess that’s why
growing old is so difficult.


About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
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9 Responses to Success Here Will Allow Me To Endure Mediocrity

  1. And reality seems to be starting at a younger age all the time…

  2. And reality when accepted makes it easier to accept the small stuff. Thank if from an old one. Not that it can’t be a bitch and a black ditch, but I am more continuously teary eyed with happiness at this stage of my life, than ever before. I will leave life reluctantly, but not raging. Thank you for adding to all I find good in the world and people.

  3. boozilla says:

    I’ve been wondering about all that lately too. Still not sure why getting older in our culture is indeed a limitation, instead of a lightening and a release. Perhaps it is because the main marker in this society is still monetary- the gaining of understanding is relegated to a certain unimportance. Still, it’s all there really is in a way.

  4. or maybe expanding the horizons is shoving reality in our face…when you have th elight, you can see the details better…

  5. Mèo Lười Việt says:

    I have spent so much time living alone, reading books and shuting the world out of my door. Now I want to go to work, live like a normal one. But the start is so difficult. I know nothing about the world outside. And I’m getting old too. What a frightening starting point. Now my CV is nearly zero. They will ask what did I do in the last several years. Actually I did nothing except reading. Wish that someone will help me and give me a cue to come back to the society, though how late it is.

  6. dhaami says:

    How true! and so nicely expressed. Personal success is usually overrated in my opinion but I am not experienced enough in life to understand the impact. So it is a valuable insight coming from someone who has gone through it

  7. bwinwnbwi says:

    It is certainly not unimportant; that is, — people talking to one another about getting old. We’re (all of us here) and the rest of the aging population, going through the same process (but differently of course). Thanks for all the comments, and yes, this “reality seems to be starting at a younger age all the time…” When I first read that comment the “no shit Sherlock sign” (chuckle, chuckle) lit up in my mind.

  8. bwinwnbwi says:

    “I hope I continue to expand my horizons, but a personal horizon, when viewed objectively—bares no fruit. Few comforts will surround my twilight hours. With no money, prestige, or honor—the stuff of a “good eulogy,” a “gentle passing into the night,” if indeed that is even possible, will not be easy.” quote from above

    Twilight hours–with no prestige or honor–here I am. I have a pension and social security thanks to unions and Franklin Roosevelt–his picture hangs on my wall over the gas fireplace. I own my house and live alone while my two children are off building their own futures. “A gentle passing into the night” it seems, is possible for me. Thank-you WordPress! I’m not posting blogs anymore, but leaving clarifying comments under significant blog postings keeps me alert and, more importantly, gives me a lot to look forward to upon waking up in the morning! Thanks again!

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