Determined or Misguided?
By Kimboak Benham
The good. The bad. The broken. The forgotten. The not forgotten. Which one are you? (If you are a recent graduate, or soon to be, which do you see yourself becoming?) Are you none of the above? Is there no good in you? Are you worth less than waste? Are you invalid? If you were, would you know it? Have you seen your better days in the rear view mirror, yet? Has your history been written — or deemed not worthy of the ink? What are you, to become?
Oh. You are the good guy. That’s you? Of whom a sentence is never written ending with a question mark? The one that never quit? The one that won the race? The who of great accomplishment? The one of which songs are written and sang? Ye ode to chivalry!
No matter our place at the finish line, we know the cliches which serve as an emotional uplift, an integral part of the quest: You win some you lose some; no risk, no reward; no pain, no gain. They are taught to us. Early on and often, at home, at school, in the workplace, and in sermons. After coming up short, we hear their push and pull echoed in solace; Better luck next time; next times the charm; you can’t win’em all; tough luck. If those don’t suffice, perhaps, another one will. Surely to be stuck in your brain all of your days — should you remain lucid — “it (pressure) will either make you or break you”. But who would want to be broken? With all of your hard earned callouses and toughened skin proven inadequate. Life lived all for naught. That would be a waste. And for some it would seem to be less than that.
For good or bad, we in America, love to go for broke, or pretend so that others will not label us a slacker, loser, bum or worst. When the going gets tough we get going. We give it our all. We face the music. We meet the challenge. And we go down fighting. We know for sure and certain that you have to be in it to win it. Though we, in these times, hand out participation trophies like they were bought at an endless counter at a clearance sale, we know feeling good and doing good are two different things. One is about trying and the other is about accomplishing. People are rewarded for accomplishing. Saying “I Tried” reads well on a grave stone — all most of us can do is try — but remembered more are the ones who “Did” more than try. They kept the pedal to the metal, and didn’t die in the process. Some work harder. Some work smarter. And some, do, die trying.
In our quest for “acceptable” results, at one time or another, we fall short and quit. We give up. This is for the birds, we say. After awhile away, having given it some thought, we give it another go. What we don’t seem to do enough of, going in, is think about the possible repercussions, about unintended consequences, about the bad that comes with the good — as opposed to the good coming with the bad. When the good comes with the bad, we are wary about the downside. When the bad comes with the good, we don’t think about the upside. That is why we quit. Stepping away from the race allows us the needed space to reevaluate ourselves and our quest. The rat race isn’t for everybody. The hamster wheel grind is just that. A human powered grist mill. What happens when we quit for good? What bad can happen— if it should — if we don’t persevere? An oxymoron is life?
For sure, we believe that the laws of the land, if not nature, should the unexpected or unwanted happen, will self-correct, lessen the bad, protect us from our flaws and efforts, and the errors of our ways, and our own misplaced, misapplied, or misguided ambitions which lead us to think winning is a birthright?
Once you find that isn’t true, don’t be blue. Let your answer be you. Live, work, and play as you will. You and all else, with time and maturity, will fall into place. Remove the doubt, never think you cannot. Graduate to being your best self. Become your best person.
Do it your way.
A good society is made up of good people doing good things. The fewer broken people, the better the society.