Achieving Happiness is an elusive goal and one that can be quite difficult to accomplish. However, I like to think about life and the quest towards Happiness as a marathon. Since the word marathon may seem a bit intimidating for some, we’ll stick with life being a race, in which we are the runners. In the race of life, we don’t need to place first, second, or third, because we are each allowed to run at our own desired pace. The best part of this race is that it isn’t necessary to cut out certain foods from our diet, and constant training isn’t of high importance. Pretty cool, huh? So it honestly isn’t about how quickly you run the race, but, more importantly, how you handle yourself while running it. As most people who have watched races are aware, many of them include hurdles placed at intervals along the track. Our life race consists of many hurdles, and in order to run the race as well as possible, it is in our best interest to jump over the hurdles, rather than stumble and fall over each of them.
Great, so life is a race and we’re the runners, but now what? Well, here’s where the fun comes into play. We each signed up for this race, and before you know it, the day of the race is tomorrow. You go to sleep early the previous night, yet no matter how hard you try to fall asleep, you spend most of the night tossing and turning, until you finally get some shut-eye in the wee hours of the morning. The alarm clock rings, but you desperately hit the snooze button three or four times. You finally turn the alarm off, get out of bed as slowly as possible, until you realize what time it is. You rush over to the shower as a final means of waking yourself up, and once you dry off and get dressed, you’re off to the kitchen to grab a quick bite to eat.
After a nutritious breakfast, you decide that you’re as ready as you’ll ever be and you get into your car and head off to the location where the race is being held. You arrive at the track and the nerves begin to kick in now more than ever. Upon walking over to the registration booth, you sign in and receive a paper bib with your runner’s number, which you hope to represent well in your run to the finish line. The time arrives for you to take your mark and get set, and within a few seconds the whistle blows and you’re off!
You begin at a decent speed, remembering how important it is to pace yourself throughout this race. So far, the race isn’t all that bad, and you are quite impressed at how well you’re doing. Up ahead you see the first hurdle in the race, and it’s no problem at all until you realize that you haven’t had any practice whatsoever with hurdles. Oh no, you think, and with just a few feet to go until you reach the first hurdle, doubt begins to engulf your mind. You imagine yourself unable to jump the hurdle, and see yourself falling the second you lift your feet off the ground. You wonder what you’re even doing running in a race if you aren’t able to jump hurdles, and feel as though you are going to make a fool of yourself. But you continue running straight for it and as you go for the jump, your foot hits the hurdle, and you find yourself sprawled on the ground as though you had been placed there for a posed photograph. You feel disappointed in yourself, and embarrassed, and take your time getting up because you blew your shot at the race. You wonder what the audience thinks of you as you walk off the track with low self esteem and a sudden lack of confidence.
Now that we have established your temporary failure, let’s rewind the story for a minute. The race seems to be going quite well, but it isn’t long before you spot the first hurdle up ahead. You feel somewhat nervous, but you do not allow your nerves to get the best of you. You picture yourself achieving the goal of jumping over the upcoming hurdle with absolutely no difficulty, and you decide to remain positive. You continue running straight for it, and as you go for the jump, your foot hits the hurdle, and you find yourself sprawled on the ground. You immediately pick yourself up, bounce back into the race, and continue running. For just a fraction of a second you feel embarrassed and wonder what others are thinking about your fall. You then realize that their thoughts are of little importance to you in this race, so your confidence and self esteem remain where they were just a few seconds ago.
During the course of our lives, we will be faced with many challenging obstacles, or hurdles, to our personal Happiness. In the end, it is up to us how we wish to act upon overcoming those obstacles. Everyone deals with challenging situations differently, and while some may be able to pick themselves up after a tough situation, others may need more time to heal their wounds before continuing on in the race. It is important to remember that we must continue on in this race called life because nothing is worth keeping us down when we have the opportunity to get back up and enjoy our lives to the fullest.
So remember, when life puts hurdles across your path, try your best to jump over them. Even if you fall, it’s perfectly okay to give yourself a little time to dust yourself off before getting up and kicking butt in the race again. I know you have it in you to overcome whatever hurdles come your way, so get ready. On your mark, get set, go!