The Contest

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It was a contest I had entered a long time ago.

Its goal was not to be fast, but to finish. I had not been able to finish. It was not because I lacked the stamina or the intelligence, or even the strength. It was because I lacked motivation. If it had been any other qualifying characteristic I might have won. But motivation was fueled by things I didn’t have; desire, encouragement, and hope. I had watched the world fall to pieces for nearly fifty years. This contest was a race against time. The fittest wasn’t always the strongest; creativity and ingenuity won out many times simply because they created ways to reserve energy for times when it was most necessary. But the opposite was true as well. Sometimes strength was required to maneuver.

I did not enter by choice I was thrust into the mix, urged daily to compete. But feeling forced only minimized my desire to participate. But even if I had been given the choice, it might still have been difficult to find the resources necessary to accomplish the tasks involved. I was alone and at most times this was a disadvantage, one that worked against both time and energy. Because the amount of time never increased, and the energy decreased as time went along, being able to leverage one’s time was a valuable commodity.

I also realized early on that those who worked together seemed to win more often. Those too thick or too selfish to work together often fell behind and never caught up. They looked confused and disturbed as others passed them by and continued on. At that point all anyone could do was watch them be consumed. It was difficult to watch especially when you knew it was possible to have been of assistance. But most people were reluctant to help those who had been in the habit of watching others struggle without lending a hand. Often they feared the same would be done to them if they gave them the opportunity. So instead they closed their eyes and let them be a victim of their own selfishness.

I continued on despite the fact that I had not asked to participate in this contest, and wondered where I would get the motivation required to manage completion. I watched as others egged people on, sometimes in nasty sarcastic, non supportive ways as if the negative reinforcement worked better than that of encouragement. I also watched some barter and bargain their way out of elements of participation. I understood their reasoning, but I don’t believe they understood how this limited them. When it became necessary to be able to complete a task on their own, they might not have the necessary skill to do so.

Some thought they could benefit by stealing time from others, or tricking them out of their skills or resources. Even when it seemed like they were getting ahead, their treachery seemed to put them behind. I didn’t want to be behind, but I wasn’t certain I would ever have what it took to finish. I hoped not to always have to compete on my own. The entirety of this particular contest was lonely and useless without including the participation of others.

I wanted to have succeeded before the time comes to an end. At that point my window of opportunity would have passed. Many others had let the opportunity to win pass them by. We do not know if they had regrets, they are no longer around to tell us. Life is a contest that many take for granted. They waste the better part of it in challenging the talents and skills of others rather than discovering the best that they themselves are capable of and often times end in regret wondering how things would have been if they had done things another way.

Living takes stamina, strength, ingenuity, creativity and motivation. The goal is to live before we die, to win we must accomplish our goals, succeed at living. Death is an equalizer; no matter how you compete, no matter what obstacles get in your way, no matter how much you accomplish. It is final and nothing here goes with you when you leave. The trick is to enjoy as much as you can, succeed as well as you can without doing harm to those you leave behind. To win is to have lived, not just to have survived; the goal being having accomplished something to leave behind.

Life is a contest with few winners, often times we die rather than live.

The Contest © DJuna Blackmon 2014, All Rights Reserved

 

written-for-30 (3) copy

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