i am in a season of life where i suddenly feel behind. which is strange. because for a while, i felt like i had finally caught up. i had always been a few laps back; ya know, stopping to smell the roses and getting a drink of water and all that. i graduated high school nearly dead last and didn’t even bother applying to colleges. my guidance counselor didn’t see much potential in me and my two point one gpa didn’t really scream harvard. and the same thing basically happened in college; scraped by, flunked out, got my act together and graduated with a three five. but a year later than everyone else. which put me into the career thing later than everyone else. i remember starting grad school so defeated. feeling so behind. feeling so exhausted. working part time jobs just to fill my gas tank. everyone else felt miles ahead; with their car loans and handbags and boyfriends of two years. and my college sweetheart had ditched me thirteen days after i moved home and i was working retail just to pay my bills. but as time went on, i caught up. i finished my masters and moved into a real apartment with my serious boyfriend. i got a real job with a steady paycheck and i bought a car. it felt real. it felt grown up. it felt on pace. and i always felt like i was running alongside a lot of others, not necessarily keeping score or paying attention to who i was paced against. got engaged then married and got a dog. fell into adulthood and everything that came with it.
until now. the last few months i have been lying awake at night wondering what will get me back on the leaderboard. maybe if i post this picture or maybe if i plan this trip or maybe if i lose this much weight or share this experience or this or that or this or that. and the sight and vision of what i actually want has started to slip away. because this shit isn’t a race. at all. we have created this competition out of thin air. for no reason. we are measuring ourselves against others, thinking they are on the other side doing the same thing. but in reality, those people in our corner, the ones we chose, the ones who’ve been there from the start; those people are just cheering you on. they aren’t keeping time. they aren’t hoping that you trip or skin your knees. no one is holding you to a track record or hoping you beat the clock. everyone is just here in the same freaking place; working, hustling, going to school, getting a degree, being a parent, dating, raising a kid or ten, staying up late, getting up early, hitting snooze ten times, wanting to lose weight, wanting to be better at at least one thing, working out, binge eating halloween candy. okay that last one is really just me. but i am here to tell y’all that there really is no race. everyone is here doing the same damn things, wanting the same results, wanting to make it to the next paycheck, the next hustle, the next train home.
nobody is hoping anyone else falls behind. in fact, i think we are all hoping to see some familiar faces along the way. ain’t a competition. ain’t a prize waiting at the end. because we are all doing whatever we wanna do. some of us are in school, some of us are having babies, some of us are climbing the ladder at our jobs, some of us are dating, some of us are doing it all, some of us are taking a break. and we all just want to reach our goals. we all just want to see the end game. we all just want whatever we are busting our asses over. no one has the freaking time to race anyone else.
so if you are looking back, hoping to see yourself miles ahead of someone else. then, bye. we don’t need ya. and if you are looking around, hoping to find someone else on the track with ya, that’s cool and all. there’s likely someone who is dying to walk alongside ya. but it ain’t a race. we don’t hand out participation trophies at the end. so stop rushing. stop comparing. stop looking for someone to compete with. do whatever it is you wanna do. finish whatever it is that you started. there’s no race. no one is better or worse than anyone else.
you are perfect where you are in your lap of life. stop and smell the roses. stop for a drink of water. hell, go ahead and stop and buy new damn shoes. it’s not a race. no one is waiting for you to fail and everyone is cheering everyone on.