Lately I have been noticing a lot of "come from behind" victories in various sports...and even in yesterday's Belmont Stakes horse race. In the horse racing world we saw the winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, "I'll Have Another", denied a chance to be a "triple crown" winner by being hobbled the last week by a career ending ligament injury. While this is an unfortunate example of how fate often intervenes with potential history making accomplishments, it goes to show how even in the horse world ones health is always the "wild card" in determining if we can accomplish all we set out to do.
In the Belmont race yesterday, it appeared "Paynter" was in control from the start only to have "Union Rags" come from behind in the final quarter to win by a neck. The Belmont is the longest track in the triple crown at 1.5 miles and to that extent favors the distance runner over the sprinter. As I've gone through life I have time and time again noticed how many of us are great at "sprinting". We look good in short spurts, but when it comes to planning or pacing ourselves for the long haul...we tend to fail miserably. It appeared that Paynter ran out of gas on the home stretch compared to Union Rags who came on strong at the end. It's how you finish that counts in most races.
I consider myself a "late bloomer" in many things. I have felt moderate satisfaction in various challenges I have taken on in life, but never have felt I had my big "home run" moment with the bases loaded. Many of my goals and pursuits have come to me relatively late in life. I finally settled into a mutually satisfying long term relationship with a woman in my late 40s. I finally found "home" in Latin America in the past decade. I am just now getting serious and focused about a "retirement plan" in my mid 50s. In many things I am in a late life sprint towards reaching my potential...and I plan to finish STRONG!
I have seen and admired many "sprinters" in my life. You know...the people who initially or immediately impress you with almost fanatical passion for what they are trying to do in life. They are like a blur of motion and conditioning, seemingly unstoppable in their quest for life domination. Yet, sooner or later, many of these people get tired of the race, take their eyes off the goal and simply fade into almost non relevancy. You see many people as they age saying "if only I..." or "it is too late now, but I would have loved to...". Many of these people have too prematurely submitted their wills to public perceptions or fates that aren't necessarily finalized yet. Who says you can't find personal or economic success in your 60s or 70s? Who says you can't find love in your waning years? Who says you have to retire at 65 or some other perceived milestone?
I have often found encouragement in articles or lists of people such as THIS ONE who either made their success in the later decades or overcame many failures before finally succeeding. Since I have had my share of failures or MODERATE successes, I would obviously find these stories stimulating to keep me going at times. After all, I have always favored the following two quotes on the subject...
The only real failure in life is the failure to try.
There are no failures – just experiences and your reactions to them.
Most everyone gets off to a bad start in life. We tend to be surrounded by friends, family and societies who try and tell us what we CAN'T or SHOULDN'T do. They try and tell us how ordinary and "bad" we are for not fitting in or wanting our own way. "No" is usually the first word many babies learn in life. For many of us it takes DECADES to overcome the devastation of our negative programming...and most never fully recover from it.
I am happy to say that I have found a number of people in my life who are super productive and passionate about life and what they are doing...even in their 60s and 70s. I play tennis with a couple guys who have completed 80 and still play a tough game. The idea is to never give up on your realistic goals or passions. If you stop using it, you will lose it... that's one of my mottos as well.
Life is about energy, inertia and motion. When we stop living, we start dying...and its not a pretty sight. So...from the nucleus of our beings...let’s all determine to finish strong...going out in a flame of fire or desire. After all, that's how most good stories end...a courageous FINISH.