I worry, sometimes, that my best work is behind me. This is a bizarre concern, given that I’m thirty-three, but this morning I think I figured out what’s behind it.
As much as I know intellectually that the work is the important thing, I want to be recognized for what I do. Growing up, I was good at a lot of things I did — though it’s perhaps fairer to say that I didn’t do much that I wasn’t good at. As such, I was tagged with the “talented” label early on. I was expected to do well, which just reinforced my desire to do only those things I was good at.
The thing was, I was a medium-sized fish in small pond, as I found out when I went to college. At Rice I met a lot of talented folks, which did a lot to disabuse me of the notion that I could be good at anything I wanted to. I also made some poor choices about how to spend my time, which did even more to bring me down to earth. After college I went to work at a company that also had a lot of talented folks. I think you can guess the result that had.
As time went on, though, I found another small pond to be a medium-sized fish in: podcasting. Back in 2005, there were hardly any gaming podcasts. It was something that dovetailed nicely with my talents, so it’s no surprise that as I got into it, I got recognized for my work. Over time, the podcasting pond got bigger. As it did, I became less relevant and less exceptional. Eventually I left the pond altogether and moved on to another one (or, really, several).
And that, I think is why I keep thinking my best work is behind me. I keep making a splash in one pond, getting recognition for it, watching others overtake me, and then moving to another. I can see a similar thing happening at work, as other people are paving the trails I’ve blazed and I’m struggling to deal with a different set of problems than I did two years ago. It’s the nature of being a generalist, a synthesizer, and a troubleshooter. I’m either on top of my game or learning the rules of a new one.
I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
UpdateFitness: Pushups (9-11-8-8-12)
Sun, Moon, and Stars: 496 words, 404 seven-day average, 276 average, 41916 total, 1584 to go for the week; 19-day streak