The gun was fired into the air and we began to move. Each person had their lane defined and we all started out so smooth. The obstacles were staggered. No two lanes the same. No one knew where it ended, but we'd just enjoy the race. So everyone ran at their own pace. That's how we all started out at least.
By my side was a man my age , he was on my right. But when my first obstacle came. and I was out of the tunnel, he was out of sight. His lane disappeared. I ran with another man. His outfit was still clean. Not one stain. In fact, he wasn't running he was fortunate to have a travelator.
So I relaxed and I moved at his pace. We talked and talked and in front of us we saw our next obstacle. A 50ft wall to climb. There was no way around it. No way under. You couldn't break it down. You HAD to go over. Then, all of a sudden, a hand appeared and took away his wall. He looked at me, smiled and moved on. I looked up at the wall. I had no idea where to start. So I turned to my left for help.
She was very similar to me and she directed me all the way up. It was exhilarating. I smiled, then I looked down and fell. It took me forever to find my way up and so quick to fall. I lay there, wondering where the first aid team where.
Could nobody see I had fallen? Could nobody see my pain. I tried my best to get up, but I just fell back down again. Maybe I've broken something, I need a little time to heal.' I said to myself. The race was still on, there was nobody in sight. No one at all to help me. Everyone was further ahead.
The gun went off. Another race had started behind me, and some had already overtaken me.
'They have it easier' I complained.
Less obstacles, and more tools. I wailed in my predicament for what seemed a long while and finally decided to give the race another try. I hopped, I limped, I crawled and walked slowly and finally found my pace. I was eager to catch up with those from my batch and was happy when I saw a familiar face.
'You're still here too, OMG thank God I'm not alone' I'd cry
And we'd jog on forward till our paths differed and I became accustomed to that. No two paths are the same.
I was jogging for a while till my next obstacle came. It was a 50ft deep and long pool. I couldn't swim. But I had a raft. The pool had no demarcation, no lanes dividing us up. So when I saw eight young women sitting on the side I invited them onto my raft. We exchanged stories of our race so far and decided to keep a united front. That were we can help each other we always would because it seemed that was important to stay in the race. The hand was back, this time picking people, taking them to who knows where? It was Elena who left our float 'I'll let you know when I get there.' she yelled.
We never heard from Elena again, but that wasn't the last we heard of her name. A fast riser, hand picked.. She had progressed many levels in the race. We came to the end of the pool and we returned to our lanes. And we ran and we jogged and we laughed and we smiled but some more obstacles came again. By the time we had gone though them, there were only 4 of us left. We'd lost a couple on the way. We kept a healthy pace up and proceeded forward. My road then presented me with a little trail.
'I've heard about this... it's a waste of time.' one of the ladies proclaimed.
I heard a powerful voice from behind say
'Stay on the normal path with everyone, follow the standard route. This way's no good for anyone.'
I bid the girls farewell and embarked along this road. It was lonelier than anything but I kept on going strong. The hills were steep, the valleys deep, my lack of motivation began to heap. The voice from behind came back.
'You don't listen. You can still go back, cross into this lane you'd jump a couple obstacles.'
It was tempting so I started 'applications' to see if I could go through lanes. But I realised the one I was on, was slyly keeping me sane. I had no idea what theirs entailed and how many obstacles I'd come across again.
So I stayed jogging forward on this narrow path of mine, and there have been many more obstacles way along the line. But in moving forward in this journey I've learnt to stay in your lane. But more importantly I've understood no two lanes are the same. And furthermore to what I've learnt is another discovery, this thing I'm in is not a race, more so it's life's journey.
For everyone who feels that they are stuck, who feels stagnant, who feels they should've taken a different path, DON'T GIVE UP!! Just because people receive a helping hand, just because you fall, just because people progress quicker than you even after starting after you, just because you weren't selected from the large pool, doesn't mean there aren't good things to this journey. Life is not a race, it's a journey. You WILL have different experiences, you WILL take different paths. You WILL meet likeminded groups. You WILL meet people to guide you. You WILL find yourself equipped with the skills and tools to help others. EXPERIENCE THE JOURNEY. LIVE LIFE.
No great story is ever a straight race. Everyone meets obstacles, everyone meets inequalities. Everyone has something that makes their path different. Live through yours. Define your experiences, don't let them define you. And when YOUR story is told, trust me... it'll make a difference.