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March 08, 2002: If: With honors

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If Project - March: If you were to think of life as a competition, how would you rate your performance? What criteria measure your success?

If we are to consider life a competition, we must accept the reality that it is a competition without any other teams involved. It's a race of one; a solo player standing on a big field surrounded by a few million other people who are locked steadfastly into their own solitary races - the outcomes of which have absolutely no bearing on the outcome of mine.

If life is a competition, the only judge that counts is myself. I'm the one I have to answer to for anything and everything I do. There are rules put in place by a society but it is my own guilt and regret that I have to answer for if I break those rules - or rules of my own making.

Life is a gift. I do not believe in a single supreme being; instead I believe that this life is merely a gift from the chaos of the universe as a whole - a chance to accomplish something. It is a gift equal to that given to every other living thing - human or otherwise - no more, no less. And it is up to me to figure out what I am supposed to accomplish, and how much further I'm capable of going if only I let myself stretch to reach it.

I am reminded of an episode of Red Dwarf, where the crew meets up with a rogue robot from the future who goes through time deleting souls he deems unworthy. As each person stands face to face to receive their judgment, they are faced with only themselves and asked one thing. Did they live their life to the best of their abilities?

I'm not sure how I would answer that question. I'm not sure I'll ever know. I am brave in some ways, and timid in others. I am ready and willing to dive headfirst into situations, only to turn around and back away from others that may be equally as difficult, or even easier to handle. Life is meant to be lived, not endured. Life is not infinite - at least not life in one single form. How sad it would be to spend my life wasting time, or coming up with excuses for why I couldn't do or try or be, because I was afraid of failure or simply too lazy or unwilling to make the effort?

I may not always be doing everything I can to make this life of mine everything it should be. But I am happy in my own skin, and that in itself is a victory. I like myself for who I am. I accept my faults (even the ones I wish I could just ignore). I push myself to test those boundaries and continually ask myself whether the boundaries are legitimate, or simply self-imposed. I take the opportunities to laugh and to explore, when I remember that they are out there and waiting for me. I jump into things to embrace them when I can force the practical side of my nature to let go and have faith.

And so, in all of this, I consider that my life, so far, is a success. Granted there is room for improvement, and there always will be, but as long as I allow myself to be challenged, to try new things, to meet other people face to face and accept them for who they are, and to never 'settle', I will continue to keep that grade high.

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