July 09, 2007

The Finish Line Is A Mirror

We live in a world of time-clocks and stopwatches, where the movement of the second hand defines our days. Like an outtake from a motion picture, there seems to be a time-code forever scrolling across the ankles of our lives.

We are slaves to the clock and ruler.

A 2 hour ride.
A 50 minute run.
Heart rate, 142.
Get to work by 9.
2 hour meeting.
60 minute lunch.
Clock out at 5.
45 minute dinner.
Finish by 9.
Set the alarm for 6.
8 hours of sleep.

Wake up, reset the stopwatch.

Time rolls on and we move forward with the passing seconds. We analyze ourselves by the minutes we spend and how we weave them into the complex fabric of our lives. We define ourselves through time.

I am 40 years old.
I’m a 9 minute miler.
A top 35% finisher.

I am time. Time is me.

Or is it?

As athletes, it is so easy to define ourselves by the finish line. We too often assume that we are as we are defined by the time-clock.

But we are mistaken. The finish line is not what defines us. The finish line is not a destination nor a definition, but a reference point. It is merely a symbol of who we are and how we live our lives, it is not the answer. What matters is not what the clock says when we stop, but what happened during the minutes it took us to get there. The finish line, in this sense, is simply a mirror.

Time means nothing. Not of who we beat or how fast we went. A stop watch cannot define us. The finish line is not an indicator of our strength or weakness, nor courage or fear. It does not decipher what is good and evil, happy or sad. The finish line can’t say if I’m friendly or mean. It does not make us us.

It is the road that matters. The path we take to reach our goal is proof of the person we are. So as we run and move and watch the clock, we need to remember to take a step back and look not at the numbers at the end of the day, but at the effort in our actions. We must look at how we did what we’ve done and ask ourselves if that is the person we want to be.

Do you always tend to take the easy route or do you lay everything on the line? Do you conserve your energy and harness your strength to ensure you reach the destination with the least amount of effort? Or do you put your life on the edge and rip open your soul for the distant glimmer of an intangible dream?

Do you know when to stop or do you barrel forward into the darkness? Do you train and plan and plot every minute of every moment or are you grasping voraciously into the future?

At the end of the day, are you smiling or crying?

It is how we do what we do that makes us be us. There is no time clock, there is no finish line. All that exists at the end is a mirror, continually reflecting what lies within our being.

So run fast, run slow - it means nothing in the end. You are not me, nor I you. We are not the finish line, it is us.


Robin said...

Beautifully said: "It is the road that matters. The path we take to reach our goal is proof of the person we are. " You've laid out some beautiful words of wisdom here.