Achievement badges, in the gaming sense, are a meaningless tag assigned to make you feel better about the grind. They’re a way of quantifying the otherwise-intangible results of your labour. They are trophies emptied of all meaning of “winning”. They are milestones on a long, boring, vacuous road. A point that goes “ding” as its one and only purpose. A byproduct of going through the necessary motions.
The thing is, it’s easy to feel like this is the case with life, as well. Your lifetime achievements can feel like just the inevitable side-effect of going through life’s motions. You can write off any of them by saying you had no other option – you fell into a promotion because everyone else left. You finished school because that’s what everyone does. You bought a house because, duh, where the hell else are you going to live?
It’s easy to feel like that if you’re looking at the milestones instead of watching the road. “Yeah, of course I passed the 50km mark. I’m on this road, and it goes past there. There’s no way around it.” It’s the fact that you are on this road, however, that matters. Is it the right road? Is it heading in the right direction? If so, then whether or not you feel your achievements are worth anything or just inevitable, you’re doing great, because you’re on the right road.
This is at least as much advice for myself as for anyone else, but was inspired by a friend: Accomplishment. I think we’re both on our own right roads.