The Beauty of Experience

Sometimes it’s hard to just write. It’s hard to do what you enjoy. It shouldn’t be, it absolutely shouldn’t be, but it is anyway. I suppose I should come up with an argument for why. Maybe it’s because something that you’re meant to be doing may require hard work to get to where it’s supposed to be. If that’s the case, then why do other people achieve easy success in what they enjoy doing. Why do we sit around working at what we enjoy only to see others steam ahead without a care in the world. Maybe they’re just better at what they’re doing.

I disagree with that, I think that at some point we will all experience a dry patch in what we think we’re supposed to be doing. It’s how we work through that dry patch that dictates whether we come out stronger and better on the other side, or whether we just collapse onto the ground and don’t get up for anything.

When I was 17 years old I went overseas from where I live to the USA to compete in an event where a bunch of other people from around the world were also competing. I took 12 events I had worked on, and only one of them was an athletic event. It was the 4 x 100m relay race. Me and my friends had been training hard to get really good at it. So we were all set to race, my friends had taken up their positions and I was the first in our relay, the gun goes off and I explode from the starting position and partially pull ahead. I get to our first change where I have to hand off the baton to my friend for the next stretch and something happens. To this day, neither of us can explain exactly what happened, whether it was his fault or mine, but he ended up tripping and being across two lanes of the track. It was one of those moments where the world just goes into slow motion. He’s just lying there and I see this look of defeat in his eyes… so I start yelling at him to get up while holding my hand out to him. I’m just yelling at him to keep running. By this point we’re a good 50-60 metres behind the other teams, but my friend is managing to slowly pull it back. I’ve never seen him run so fast. He hands it off to the next runner, who also manages to make ground back. By the time we reach our last runner, our fastest runner, we have nearly made back all the ground we lost, and our last runner managed to pull ahead of all the other teams and win our heat for us. We didn’t end up getting into the semi-finals due to a technicality, but in some ways I’m thankful because we all learned a valuable lesson about keeping going no matter what.

It’s interesting to relive stories like that because in some ways I don’t think I would be the person I am today if not for experiences like that. We all have experiences that shape us. Some of them try to break us, but it’s how we handle those experiences that determine who we become and how we live our lives.

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