Ever since I realized how narcissistic I was in high school, I’ve realized that I’ve unconsciously put myself on top in many facets of life. I’m very competitive because I want to prove to myself that I am capable of being the best. I want to get the best grade on the exam, I want to run the fastest mile, I want to score the most points in the video game. I honestly don’t think it’s because I want the recognition. Depending on what it is, I actually think it can be embarrassing because I don’t like having the attention unless I’m in a leadership position. I still haven’t figured out why there’s a distinction there.
In any case, yesterday was the Relay for Life where I live, and my improv troupe always goes and participates. It’s a personal goal for the team to have somebody on the track the entire twenty four hours, and while most people don’t like walking all that much, I see the event as an opportunity to push myself.
Over the course of those twenty four miles, I walk a lot. It helps that I’m very introverted and am not a big fan of social interaction (especially when it involves the same group of people for several hours on end). Last year, I walked twenty miles during the event. This year, my goal was twenty-two, and while during the middle I didn’t think I would reach it, I actually managed twenty-three.
I’m not boasting. I don’t walk that much because I want to flaunt how fit I am (because, first off, I’m not in that great shape). I do it for myself. My feet start to hurt after ten miles. I’m not immune to pain. The pain is actually a big reason why I do it so much. The event, in my eyes, is the best time to show myself that I can do so much more than what is required. I could easily stop after ten miles because I’m too tired to go on, but where would we be in life if we gave up every time we reached an obstacle? This is the time I use to say “Things can get hard, but if you push yourself, you’ll be able to look back and remember that it couldn’t stop you. That challenge wasn’t enough to bring you down.”
Mark my words, I’m in a lot of pain. I don’t feel it sitting down at the computer, but when I get up to go to the kitchen, my back and legs stage a mutiny and try to bring me down. I use this pain for when I face future challenges. When I get there, I can gauge how much (perhaps theoretical) pain this new obstacle will inflict. If it will bring less pain than I’ve already endured, it is no challenge it all. If I expect it to bring more, then that’s all the more reason not to let that stop me. When I overcome that new obstacle, I’ll be stronger still.