There is a preoccupation with the concepts of success and zenith in our society. As in, ” John’s zenith was in the 1990s.” Some even follow celebrities with a sort of gleeful anticipation -waiting for the talented to slip over the edge. We envy their success, and we gloat over their fall. I think it has mostly to do with the sort of unfair comparisons that spring up early in life. “look at how successful your brother is; why can’t you be more like him?”
Gradually anything less than the best becomes not good enough. So we get set up for a situation where we fail to achieve our best because we expect that anything less than fame or celebrity would be a failure.
The term indefatigable comes to mind when you look at the many people who overcame significant barriers just to live everyday lives. We should look with disdain at those who can’t think about an everyday life lived with joy and satisfaction as a success.
How do I jump from one to the other? Well, I think a certain amount of security complements a creative life. Some people thrive on chaos. I was one of those for years. I eventually discovered the corrosive effect on my mental health and creativity that a chaotic lifestyle brings. I think I’ve lived a longer, more productive life for dampening the messier aspects. Maybe also because I’m no longer obsessed with being the best.
Some people enjoy watching biopics of the talented who sadly burned out at a young age. Dead from drink, drugs, or misadventure. Yes, it’s interesting to watch and comment on how sad and tragic a loss it was. Unfortunately, I was just a little too close to folks in that situation. I was too close to talented friends who burned out and suicided to watch those biopics on Netflix. That’s why I talk about the joy and satisfaction of everyday life.
Having skated the edge of the abyss and watched friends fall in, I find it a bit unfathomable that there is such an attraction to the edge.
Balance people, balance.