The older you get, the better you were? It’s incredible how as more time passes, the facts and small details tend to blur to failure and/or blossom to success. These memorialized stories, as they are retold, most often become more glorious with time.
At my ten year year high school reunion, there was a table set with memories and accolades of our Senior year successes in football. There was even game film running of a particular contest that we had won. While looking this over, a classmate stopped as well to share a story of his past as a football player with his spouse. He even pointed himself out on the film, noting a great tackle he had made. Then they moved on.
At first, it bothered me that I didn’t remember him being very good at football. Then I realized that I didn’t remember him at all, not even as a classmate.
For whatever strange reason, I remember these few minutes in a lifetime lesson for me. He had attached himself to a success story and was perpetuating a myth that he was an athlete. As time has passed, I’m quite certain the stories retold elevate his status even beyond the level of a football player. He will have built an ego from nothing and never have lived and learned from the experience.
All of us will exaggerate. From this experience though, I began to learn the important lesson of not crafting stories to fill my ego. I don’t generally lack confidence, I just prefer the confidence be personally earned from living and not through storytelling.
Live and humbly share your narrative as it occurred, not as you once aspired it to be. The older you get, the more vivid and valuable these learned experiences could be in your decisions. But, only if you leave them just as they were lived.
“Myth becomes myth not in the living but in the retelling.” — David Maraniss —