How is it that some can run a marathon and finish it without stopping or deviating from the path while others have the desire and willingness to, but end up stopping, slowing down or just getting distracted by the scenery along the way? Lately I have been thinking of life as a full marathon. Yes, the full 26 miles. It starts when we get squeezed out of mom or simply just get hauled out, whichever way we start this race, we are here. The finish line, quite obvious, is when we die.
My somewhat creative mind must have been bored and I started thinking of life like a long race. Some end it with a bang, some barely crawled and some well, need to be carried. Now that I had this analogy in my head, it would not leave! Any good therapist will tell you to journal it then maybe it will be gone from that play and repeat function, over and over again. Hence, this piece of what I call ‘The Marathon call Life.’
From the time we are born we are measured for length, weight, head size, feet size, etc., etc. Those of you who had babies, these measurements give a sense of pride or worry. Pride if we have a newborn at 8 pounds and 21 inches long. Worry, when our baby is 2 pounds and 16 inches long. All of a sudden we might feel like our kid does not measure up to the other screaming little munchkins in the hospital nursery.
We send them off to kindergarten, middle and high school then off to college where they are again being graded, measured and compared. Finally, you would think it ends there, all the grading and rating, but behold, they enter the workforce and yet again they get rated and measured.
As a society we seem to be comparing, measuring and rating a whole lot and it doesn’t seem to end, well until we are close to the finish line in the marathon call LIFE!
These are my thoughts as I think about this and the constant struggle to be better and better as we run this race. When we compare ourselves with others, what they have accomplished and their achievements, we are forgetting that each of us makes choices that lead us into different directions. The choices I made along this race track of life may delay our achievements. We may decide to run slower, stop a while, have a conversation, go to a party or two, help someone or stop to think if we really want to run that fast. Others who keep going may reach their attained goals faster. They may be singularly focused and run like there is no tomorrow to reach their mile markers. Eventually when we catch up or try to catch up expect to be asked something like, ‘…where were you…what happened…I have not seen you for a while…what was your accomplished run time…’ We could be lost in response because we really don’t want to tell the over achiever that we stopped, slowed down or revisited our decision to run. We tend to feel less than. We may lose some self-confidence or feel like we do not measure up.
Life is about choices. Each of us ends up where we are today, at whichever mile marker, because of the choices we made back at the start line or somewhere in between. Those choices might cause us to take responsibilities for the outcome of the choices. We can continue to beat ourselves up over those choices, but we certainly cannot change them. We can surely try to take corrective actions if the choices were not the best choices made. Bottom line, we cannot go back and undo the choices we made. Consequences can follow us like a dark shadow and some days we do not see the dark shadows and some days, depending on where that shadow falls, we see the shadow of our haunting past there to remind us of the choice we made.
I cannot change the past, I can try to live the present better than I lived the past and certainly try to define my future by making better choices today. Until we reach that finish line, the race is not over. As the saying goes… “To die trying would be better than to die without purpose’’ by Lauren Destefano.
Those who reached the mile markers too quickly may have missed out on some adventures along the way. They may have not taken the opportunity to enjoy some of the few simple pleasures that may have been on the race track. They may have regrets or may even felt like they may have lived, but not feel alive. They may feel the underachievers are happier and chose to live and enjoy life on that path.
Those who reached the mile marker later may have regrets about stopping to smell the roses. They may feel if they had only kept the pace, they too might have achieved more. They may think the overachievers are happy and contented. They may think if they too had run faster and stayed on course, they too would be like the overachievers.
As you can see there is no right or wrong assessment. It is the decision we made at a precise moment that may forever change the future moments of our lives. Not everything is worth stopping for and not everything is worth passing by. We made choices. We are here because of those choices. Those choices define who we were at a point in time. They do not define who we are today. The choices we make today we will experience the consequences down the road.
We learn from our past. We try to live each day better. We try to make better choices. We try to live now. No regrets. No looking back except to learn or embrace what we need to. You are here now because of the choices you made. You will be somewhere tomorrow because of the choices you make now.
Don’t measure yourself by the achievement of others. They are not you. They did not walk in your shoe. They can never be like you. Take what you have and make your choices and enjoy the marathon of YOUR LIFE