Every step we take is either closer to or further from the land of the living. The problem is, we never know which direction we are heading in until we get there. These words from Jarhead are a good way of indicating the importance of winning. As a kid, I feel that I was very competitive, my whole family was. Games were important to win. When I was taking Karate in 6th grade, I remember the other kids complaining loudly as we sat in invisible chairs against the wall. I always made a point of remaining silent because I knew that was the only way to impress my teacher. But even if I wasn’t recognized, I knew that I hadn’t made a sound.
Later on, when I was into cars more, I would wash almost every part of my Fiero including inside the trunk and engine bay. People would remark at how no one would ever see those spots and that no one would know if they were left dirty. But I would always tell them that I would know. In my more adult life, I’ve found that I am much more subtle when it comes to competition. I like to have the fastest car among my peer group. I like to be the hardest worker. I strive to be the person with the most honesty and the most honor. But over the years, I’ve come to the conclusion that the competition is really no longer with others, but is with myself.
I grew up with the war between good and evil in religion and Star Wars. I remember an argument with my mother in which I stated very clearly that I didn’t believe that honor mattered, something I can hardly believe I said now. She held up ideals which I thought were slow and old but which I later came around to. And I later regretted my insubordinate tone and manner and my shortsightedness. But the lessons have come, as they do for many over a life. And I’ve learned many truisms. It pays to be a winner. Competition makes you stronger. You’ll never regret doing the right thing, even if it’s really difficult. The race of life is against no one but yourself. And though the race is long and time may be short, you’ll never know when your time is up until it’s too late to speed up. You’re racing against an unseen clock. So you might as well step it up and do your best.