You aren’t the best. You’re not even close. And that’s OK.

I love chess now, but I am not very good at it. When I first got into it again, however, I thought I was hot stuff. I beat a bunch of bots with higher and higher ratings until I reached what I thought my level was (Elo 1,000). I thought that was a pretty good rating for me, considering I hadn’t played in 20 years.

When I started playing humans, however, I discovered that I am not a 1,000-level player at all. It was humbling. Since then I learned that I am not along. There are players at every level striving to learn the game and get better. Despite my early hubris, I am still a beginner. There is nothing wrong with that. We are all beginners at something.

I am having fun learning the game, and think that I am establishing basic competence. That alone is something to be proud of. I have also made an internet friend (or chess rival!), have introduced the game to my son and daughter, and am playing online games with my father-in-law, too. All of these things have made my life better than it was before.

I hope that my interest in the game remains high enough to play a little each day, and to continue to develop my skills. While I will certainly never become a grandmaster (Elo 2,500 and up), perhaps I will become a level 1,000 player someday. I may even remain a beginner for the rest of my life, and that’s OK.

For now, I just want to learn the game and have fun playing it. In broader terms, I want to use the skills I have—however meager they are—to participate, contribute, and have fun.