Random Musings

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Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, United States

Monday, January 23, 2006

Cardozo's curse

“in the end the great truth will have been learned: that the
quest is greater than what is sought, the effort finer than the
prize, or, rather, that the effort is the prize, the victory cheap
and hollow were it not for the rigor of the game”

This is one of my favorite quotes, it's by Judge Cardozo, one of the great jurists in American history. I've always tried to live by it, applying it to my life, with the goal to pursue my life as a great adventure, and to judge my life on what I've experienced rather than how far I've advanced in a profession or how much money and property I've accumulated. And I've always felt it was right. Many of my friends from my earlier life have accomplished far more than I have; they have steady jobs, families, six figure incomes, homes, investment portfolios, expensive cars, all that kind of thing. And yet I feel like I have more. I've done so much, felt so much, experienced so much, both good and bad, that I would never trade with anyone. There will always be time for money, but I've had the chance to experince true poverty, more jobs than I can count on the fingers and toes of myself and both of my cats, love more than twice, heartbreak more than that, all the colors of the palette. And the things I do have I have truly worked for. None of it has come easily. So I've found these words to be true.
But today I was thinking about the past. Past relationships, and my current one. I was thinking about a recent relationship that was a bad one. It started out well, but unlike most, she really made me work for it. I had to pursue her like no other, fight for every step, and every drop of affection I squeezed from her was a victory. She was unconquerable, and yet I was succeeding, however slowly. Despite her being somewhat cool in her relations to me, I felt for her more intensely than anyone in a long time. In contrast, a girl I dated before her was sweet and loving and giving and everything you could ever ask for in a girlfriend, and yet I never reached that same feeling of intensity; I never appreciated her to anywhere near the degree that was called for. And looking back on other relationships before these, I see this pattern repeated again and again. So I've been thinking about why. And I thought of that quote again; "The victory cheap and hollow were it not for the rigor of the game." And I wonder if that is it. That we appreciate something we have to work for, something that is difficult to accomplish, even when the prize we win is a lesser prize. Is that why when I find a girl who is absolutely great, who skips all the headgames and just follows her heart, I find myself missing the intensity of feeling from those girls who really werent so great? Because we judge the value of something by the work entailed in getting it? Sounds awfully Marxist for my tastes. I hope its not that. I hope that's something that can be overcome. I imagine time will tell.