This past weekend both of the main females in my life ran in the RCU Charity Classic here in downtown Eau Claire, WI. My wife, the one who has only recently begun running on a regular basis, ran the 2 mile race. My daughter, the one who has never actually run and regularly complains halfway through Target of her legs tiring, ran the quarter mile.
Now, in the whole scheme of things, neither one of them were anywhere near the front of the race at any point during their runs. But, that’s completely irrelevant. My wife shaved over 3 minutes off her standard for a two mile run, which she credits to her competitive nature; and my daughter actually completed the race and wasn’t dead last. She managed this even after a fall, after stopping several times along the way to give the spectators high fives, and running over to give my wife a hug right before the finish line.
Both were, in my mind (as well, I hope as in their’s) winners, without a doubt. My daughter was so completely proud of her medal (received, of course, for participation) that she wore it for the rest of the day, and frequently wants to put it on as we are about to leave the house.
Frequently in my life I’ve referred to my situation in terms of either winning or losing. When things are going well, I like to exclaim how I’m winning at life. When I have yet another failure, I hang my head in the shame of losing. It’s an active thought process I go through, considering successes and failures as either winning or losing. It’s a competition I have with myself, keeping myself pushing forward by keeping a form of score on how I’m doing. (note: I don’t actually keep score, as I have a feeling the numbers may be a tad depressing)
Many times these losses (or failures) have gone so far as to cause me to want to give up. Whether it’s one of my creative pursuits, employment activities, or even parenting; I manage to find myself in a place where I think it would just be easier to stop competing and just allow things to run their course. And, to be honest, in many ways I do allow things to do exactly that. There are many pieces of the puzzle that I just don’t find worthy of my time, when there are so many others that I’d rather try my hardest at and hopefully succeed.
Writing is a perfect example of this discussion. Over the years I’ve attempted many different forms of writing, screenplays, stageplays, music, poetry, and, of course, novels. Not until I finally completed the final version of THE LEGEND OF BUDDY HERO did I ever end up with something I felt truly proud to have created. Each of those situations felt like a loss. After stepping back for a bit, I’d see the little wins that did occur within each failure. In producing the screenplays into movies, I was able to easily see my pacing issues as well as my issues with completing a story line and resolving plot lines. In my poetry and music, I saw that I had a predilection towards writing stories, instead of expressing emotions. In my stageplays I found my abilities to set a scene. Each of these different overall failures added to the overall ability to create my art.
THE LEGEND OF BUDDY HERO is yet another example of this sort of situation. Now, I do consider it to be a success (although I have a hard time considering it a win until it receives a tad more of a following), but there were some failures in there that I found which directed me in how to move forward in the next book I wrote. In fact, THE AGORA FILES became a wholly different style of book, focusing first on action and filling in the details later, as opposed to BUDDY, which was much more focused on character development than the action. I believe both styles fit the stories being told, but I think THE AGORA FILES is, overall, a much more palatable book for the standard audience.
Of course, this is a lot of rehashing of things I’ve said many times in the past. However, watching my wife and daughter compete in something that they knew they couldn’t win brought this all back to the forefront. They may have had little chance of winning by running, but they had absolutely no chance of winning by not. And in their participation, they both did find themselves as winners, no matter what anyone else may have thought.
I’m proud of my runners, and I hope I can keep competing as strongly as they did this past weekend, knowing that there is something waiting for me at the finish line.
Have a good one!