I didn't attempt to learn to ski until I was in my forties. And after getting over being terrified at a 3 degree hill, I worked my way up to gaining confidence on any catwalk they threw at me at Beaver Creek Colorado. For those non-skiers, a catwalk is a road, the easiest non-threatening way down for beginners.
I remember well the idea that I could be happy the rest of my skiing days on those catwalks. I was having fun, I felt confident, I had accomplished something. But over time I got bored. Others were zooming around me with bigger smiles than I had. And so the saga moves forward until I was able to ski even the hardest they had to offer.
I see this same stepping stone progression in high end audio as well. Some start out happy on their earbuds and iPods. Like me learning to ski, they are having fun and enjoying the music without ever wishing for more. Until then they get a taste of something better. Perhaps in their cars, or a friend's house and they realize there's more pleasure buried in their music than they ever imagined. Then they take the next step.
Their horizons lift as if a fog had pulled up exposing a hint of sunshine.
From the newest iPod listener to the craziest obsessive Audiophile I have ever met, our endless ability to continue reaching higher levels of musical enjoyment never ceases to amaze me.
It's one of the reasons I am rarely surprised when the next tweak or change gets me to a place I thought I'd never reach.
Each stone we step on isn't one closer to an end, but a door to the next stone.