In a moment of accomplishment a wide variety of responses are possible. I’ve been thinking about this recently. I picture a person climbing a mountain. After a long, strenuous ordeal that person stands at the summit. In that moment what is the first response? A feeling of power or a feeling of weakness? It would be possible to dwell on the strength it took to arrive at the peak. Thoughts like I’m unstoppable! or I conquered this mountain! might come to mind. But it might be very different. It might be something like This mountain makes me feel small or Look at all those higher peaks! or I’m lucky to be alive! or How am I going to get down?
Or maybe self is forgotten. Look at that view!
After the initial thrill of achievement, accomplishing goals also throws a spotlight on other aspects of life. Some of these things may have been forgotten or ignored during the climb or the pursuit of the goal. Suddenly the question of whether the goal was worthy of all that attention must be answered.
That’s where I find myself right now. I do not regret my decision to pursue a graduate education in plant science, but I have been thinking about the things that really matter to me. A wise person once told me: “Ben, someday you’ll experience happiness that causes sadness.” At the time I did not know what he meant. I know now.