We are born our life laid above us as a tree, our choices a journey up the tree to one of the multitude of buds at the tips of the treetop. We are given the potential for so many sorts of greatness, a particular route to a particular bud and its particular genius. Each tree is our own only, shared with no one and twining its branches with so many others’ trees surrounding.
Our choices trend from grand to nuance. Complete halves, thirds, quarters of the tree put behind us by the choices of our youth, so filled with energy and optimism, and so ill-equipped to see the implications of the branches taken. Conformity and convention, the simpler climb of the tree, creeps in with an icy numbness lulling us to a quiet and nameless existence. Sleepily whiling the years while our own greatness lays a branch away, separated from ours by cardinally naive decisions early in life and now knees too weak to jump the span. Jump!
A very few of us are weighted toward greatness on trees bowed with fertile buds. They are assigned a grace of potential and a terrible weight of expected genius, known only to each bearer. Each chosen reveals that grace and weight in different proportion. Some arch beautifully upward with a knowing rightness of path, their peace and brilliance a blinding and enviable light. Others sink under its weighty obligation, their life a forced march to achieve their potential.
And for some sad number of us, no matter our heart, no matter our longing, none of the buds are fertile, and we spend our life scrambling against this, retracing our steps to make new paths, only to end our hunt again and again at the same frustration: mediocrity. We flash a raging despair and an anger at our lot; a knowing we are making our best, but it is a flimsy of the greats who shine through us as blinding lights crowding humanity’s roar for attention.
We may wonder at, be beaten by, the hand that judges the value of our life. There is, most certainly, an extant reckoning that cares not of one’s subjective fulfillment. No matter some’s security, they ask for the judgment of that hand. This sickness chases them into every place of refuge. I feel its reckoning always.
I hope the wisest know many seeming mediocrities as quiet greatness in disguise, for this is mine and most’s true path to inner peace. To be happily ordinary is feat of genius of itself, a loving and quiet embrace of life.