The afterglow of accomplishment

Presence versus plugging into the world, what is the balance?

My experience of journaling by hand for 7 days

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There are only a handful of times in my life where I can remember feeling such an immense sense of accomplishment that in the period following, I felt like I could truly rest. It was not that I could not relax prior to achieving the thing, it would however be inevitably marred by a nagging sense that the job was left incomplete and that there were things to do.

This feeling of being able to truly rest, this afterglow of accomplishment, is something I am in right now. I have recently returned from a week-long campervanning adventure with a few friends chock-full of new and novel sensory experiences. It might sound a little odd to frame what was essentially a week-long holiday road trip as an accomplishment, but that is how it felt to me. I feel such pride, privilege, and gratitude for being able to take a trip like this, to live what is frankly peak life for me. My attention was taken prisoner for almost the entire time, I suppose time away from electronic devices on the road will do that. Even my the screen time statistics on my phone showed a significant decrease in daily active usage on my phone – when I dig deeper, the largest contributor ends up being use of Google Maps.

I remember basking in this afterglow after finishing my set of high school exams. The summer after was one of the freest I have ever felt, like the whole world was mine alone to enjoy. It contrasts the circumstances of my current afterglow, but the feeling or mood is undeniably the very same. The more I ponder about it, the more I am certain that the root of the feeling is the conscious effort of being present in the moment paired with the completion of a goal or objective. In that way, the momentous sense of accomplishment of completing high school is similar to a week-long four-person campervan road trip full of new and novel experiences.

This afterglow is a peak-life experience in itself in my book. Writing and reasoning through this feeling has provided so much clarity that I imagine that finding the energy and enthusiasm to undergo medium to long-term endeavours will be much easier.

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