Olivia de Havilland
“Famous people feel that they must perpetually be on the crest of the wave, not realising that it is against all the rules of life. You can’t be on top all the time; it isn’t natural.”
How many surfers do you know that have a never-ending ride? Every wave has a beginning and an end. Most waves are caught close to shore and only last for a short time. Then, every dedicated surfer goes in search of the next one. After a few years however, even the best surfers have to realize they are no longer physically able to keep up with the sport, and are forced to move on, looking for “waves” in other areas of life.
The ride at the top of any profession is exhilarating, but you can’t stay there forever. Working your way up to that crest is a process that builds the character to stay on top longer, but the inevitable result is that there is nowhere to go but down after that.
Where is your life in this cycle? Have you reached your full potential? Some peak during the work years, earning enormous amounts of money and building monuments to themselves to last through the ages. Others have a quiet life working and raising a family, or deciding to go through life in other arrangements, and then when they retire, a whole new life opens for that seasoned and experienced individual who then has major accomplishments in the later stages of life.
The preparation phase at the beginning is very important. Never pass up an opportunity to learn something new. As an example, I went to the doctor today to consult on the dislocated shoulder I managed to obtain last week. On the way out, I asked to see the xrays that were taken before and after it was reduced in the emergency room. He put the before and after shots side by side so I could get a feel for the difference. That was really cool. While I have no definitive idea when that knowledge may come in handy, whether in my writing or if I am present when someone else has the same misfortune, I have that knowledge now, and I can pull it out as needed.
At the crest, you will need all those things you learned at odd times to stay up there as long as you possibly can, for maximum benefit to yourself and others.
As you start down the other side, give some others a shove upward to help them realize their goals. Be a teacher. Make a difference in someone else’s life. Freely you have received, freely give.