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During a recent gathering of friends, we began swapping tales of some of our biggest accomplishments from our youths.  The people around that table are a fairly intelligent bunch, and thus the stories were often rather impressive.  It was quite an enlightening evening.

However, it got me thinking later, especially since I held my peace during the discussions, as to where my accomplishments lie.  What achievements can I put in the trophy case of my life and step back to admire.  I was heartened to see that there were a few shiny baubles there shining back at me: the story I wrote in elementary school that was chosen to be performed by the children’s theater group Child’s Play, the science fair project that went on to compete at a state air at Vanderbilt University, or the receiving of the Tennessee Outstanding Achievement Award for the performance of our team in the National Science Olympiad.

The flashes of memory that I had thinking back on these things brought a bittersweet smile to my face.  I remember those moments well.  Looking at them now, the accomplishment may seem small, but at the time they gave an incredible feeling that I had done something worth celebrating.

As I’ve grown older, such things have become fewer and farther between.  I suppose this is true of everyone as the standards get tighter and what it takes to be recognized as worthy of celebration is a much higher bar.  Still, the small moments, or intimately personal ones, shine in our memories. 

We all want to feel like we are worthy of praise and celebration from time to time.  We all need to feel that rush of pride that accompanies that recognition.  The trap I too often fall into lies in my competitive nature and the environment of achievement in which I was raised.  It is all too easy to look at others and see that I am not competitive with them.  It is far too simple to draw comparisons that feed into a spiral of inferiority.

There is a lot of road ahead of me in this world.  And, while the past is what has been formative for me, I have to look to the future and try to keep moving forward. 

Hopefully I still have a few baubles to add to the trophy case.

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