Tag Archives: checkered flag

Make Your Mark…Then Move It

“I think that the power is the principle. The principle of moving forward, as though you have the confidence to move forward, eventually gives you confidence when you look back and see what you’ve done.”– Robert Downey Jr.

“We must be willing to let go of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”– Joseph Campbell

Neat stacks and tidy rows. Organized uniformity. Controlled outcomes and throttled variables. Just the sound of the phrases evokes a soothing sense of inner peace.

Unfortunately, that’s not the game, and those aren’t the rules.

We live in a perpetual Indiana Jones boulder chase world, and the only constant is a complete lack of command over where and when those pitfalls break free from their hiding places to surprise us with a spiky slip into an unlucky situation.

Instead of a laser-locked focus on permanence, maybe the best we can hope for is a clear footprint, created from a confident plant of our boots in the mud, ready to be washed away with the next day’s rain. We don’t necessarily need ownership of a name remembered for generations, but making a mark is an important pursuit, even if it’s a daily one.

Navigating social media scoreboards and spinning inside a constant comparison culture can diminish individual victories and discount incremental gains by shining a brighter light on the checkered flag than the gravel on the ground. But reaching any finish line is accomplished by first taking one step, and then another.

Humans exist inside the center of a dynamic tornado. We spend the majority of our waking moments dodging the debris. There is only here and there is only now.

Celebrate your wins. Recognize the effort required. Take stock. Plant your flag…and then move it.

Adolescence Interrupted

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The Upsides of Downsides

I suppose it’s emblematic of the human condition that challenges and obstacles suddenly dropped on our path normally elicit the full range of reactions. As creatures of habit and ritual, we prefer to wrap ourselves in a blanket of familiarity and tend to avoid any variables that pose a threat to our safety or survival. I’m sure it’s somehow wired into our DNA, so we have Homo habilis to thank for the butterflies in our belfries.

But maybe there’s a hidden benefit to that knee-jerk panic response that sends the heart rate racing. Our bodies are being primed for evaluation, either internally or externally. We’re forced to take a moment of pause to assess and decide. So it might be wise to embrace those sweaty palms and shaky hands.

Zooming out, this can apply to individual situations or the “life map” as a whole. Rarely do we have the luxury of smooth sailing, and deviations from the game plan are more often a burden to bear and a maze to navigate. Change is a wool sweater on bare skin, and any progress takes some itching. There’s no such thing as painless growth, only growing pains.

Closing a chapter feels much different than writing it. I’m sprinting toward a checkered flag that was years in the making, and some big-picture evaluation has been monopolizing my sleepless nights.

Only time guards the answers. But right now, it’s hard to see if that rapidly approaching line is labeled “start” or “finish.”

Adolescence Interrupted