Friday, February 19, 2010

I could have been a contender

This trophy arrived in the mail the other day after being excavated from my brother's house in Maryland. The shiny finish shows a bit of wear and tear over the 37 years it's been boxed up in a basement, but then again who hasn't had a bit of their shine worn down over the years.

While it brought a smile to my face, it also made me a bit sad that the only noteworthy thing I've accomplished was when I was 8 years old and won 3rd place for girls Judo? Not even 1st place? I had collected a few trophies from those years I was involved in Judo, my brother's sport which I was made to participate in after a girl at school kept threatening to beat me up if I didn't give her the home-made chocolate brownies my mom put in my lunchbox.

I was pretty good at the sport and even got a little trophy for courage when I was the only girl to show up at a meet. Mostly I was adept at wriggling my way out of the Judo holds. I could twist and almost sneak my way out of most grips like an escape artist. I didn't like the bloody noses, sore muscles and thick constricting material of the Judo gi. But I have to admit it did feel good to win, and if I had to, I would have fought to the death for those brownies.

Over the past few days I've shifted my thinking from looking at the trophy and thinking that's all my life has amounted to? to questioning what are my true accomplishments? Do they really come in the form of a shiny trophy or car, are they measured by dollars accrued? Because if they are, I'm certainly a failure. I recognize that while there are important things that can be measured externally by golden trophies, certificates and bonuses; the things that can't be measured are what I have an abundance of.

At the end of my life I'm not going to have keepsakes and trinkets surrounding me. I hope to be surrounded by people who love me, whose lives I've touched in some way, who I shared experiences with - laughing, crying and all that's in between.

As I look at this trophy now, I will see it not for wriggling out of a Judo hold when I was a little girl, but for all that I've accomplished as the woman I've become. A wife, friend, confidant, daughter, sister, aunt, niece, cousin, grand-daughter, care-giver and self-explorer.

It is those interactions and relationships with others that make me feel like I'm an accomplished individual.


  1. My dear dear soulsista -

    I am right beside you holding "3rd place" in interactions, love and life.

    What an accomplishment, indeed.


  2. I'm glad to see your lovely prose, wonderful way of expressing yourself and thoughtful examination of a life well-lived, and with much ahead.

    I'm proud of big little sister and who you've become. Mostly I'm proud to be counted as one of your friends as well as your brother. You had no choice in the second and the first takes some tending to and (well worth it) effort to maintain.

    By the way, the brownies were totally worth whatever it took to keep, eat and savor.