I have a thing for analogies. They are so useful. You have these concepts or experiences that you want to explain to other people so you use an image that they can understand to convey the idea.
But here is the thing, analogies are limited.
And every now and again I think I choose the wrong analogy – for explaining my life.
Because I will have a bad day and think that everything is gone, all the work I’ve done has come to naught and I’m left empty-handed.
That is the life is like dropping a basket full of eggs/pitcher of water analogy.
It is through that lens that all the work I’ve done up till now doesn’t count because what has happened now has ruined it all. (I’m a visual person and I like to have my analogies pretty vivid, so bear with me.) So in this particular analogy I walk all the way down to the village (perhaps with a basket on my head). I make it there, do my shopping, pay for it, and head back up the mountain. (I told you it was going to be far-fetched.) And then I trip… I fall… the water is spilled… the eggs are cracked… I have nothing to show for my journey. Everything is lost.
That is typically the analogy I “go with” on a bad day. Can you say melodramatic much?
So today’s challenge is to find a better analogy for my rough days. And why not going with my favorite life analogy – running?
Life is like running a marathon.
In a marathon there is anything can happen. I’m not talking about running the way Cragg, Linden, and Flanagan did in the Olympic Trials Marathon. (As a side note I never knew what it was to start to love sports heroes because of sheer love of the sport until I started following the Olympic Trials. More on that some other time.) I’m talking about running a marathon and needing to stop to pee, or walk through your water breaks, or whatever other obstacle may come along the way.
Any of those obstacles, first of all, do not prevent you from reaching your goal, nor do they pick you up and set up back at the start line. (This isn’t Mario Kart, people.) Even if they did mean not finishing the race, they still don’t erase the months of training, hard work, and character formation that brought you to the start line.
Further, often these so called obstacles actually are necessary to complete the rest of the marathon.
Sometimes we need those moments to pause as we continue on our journey. They are not failures nor mistakes. They are part of life.
It is hard to convince myself of that – as I bawled my eyes out on the phone to my friend this morning – worrying that the flu I’ve had this weekend is going to send me backwards in my recovery, worried about when is the right time to switch jobs, worried about how I am going to manage to cut off communication with this guy who isn’t getting the message, worried about if my mentor will be there for me, worried about if I should go back to therapy, worried about my ten page research paper I should be writing instead of blogging… etc, etc, etc. Worried if all this worry is what made me get sick in the first place and if it has become that deeply rooted in my subconscious that I’m getting sick without even wanting to?
I can’t worry about the next mile if I’m not there yet. Life isn’t like the pretty painted picture I had in my mind since I was a little girl. Life isn’t perfect. But life is beautiful; life is full of ups and downs and advances and setbacks. That is the beauty of the thing. It can be terrifying at times. But in the end, it is about who is walking through life not about it being perfect.
There is little I can change about life. But I can decide who I want to be.