Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Season To Shine


I promise you that this is not another post mourning Michael Jackson's passing. I am still shocked and can't believe (like most of you) that he is gone (actually dead) but, what I am about to write was inspired by something I read about him and a lot of celebrities.

I read that Michael was not satisfied that he peaked at age 24 with what was probably his greatest acheivement... the release of "Thriller", the biggest selling recording in history. As a result, he spent the rest of his life trying to compete with himself and being disappointed that he couldn't top his success. This lead me to think about the seasons in a person's life... the season to shine.

What a lot of celebrities and people (in general) fail to realize is that everybody, if they are lucky, will have a season... a series of moments in life, if you will, when you are at your best... when you are the man or woman of the moment and on top of your game. This moment won't last forever and one day, it'll be someone else's turn to shine. How will you deal with that... when it's no longer your moment?

What hurts a lot of people is that we just don't know when to let go of that and how to keep on moving to the next thing. I was watching the HBO TV show "Hung", in which the main character, who used to be a high school football hero and homecoming king, suddenly realized that now, he was just a middle aged, divorced school teacher and coach of an underacheiving basketball team. He said, "I don't understand. I used to be somebody." I think when we get a certain age and look back at our lives and realize that we didn't do everything we set out to do, we all have those moments when we say just what he said or worse... "What happened to my life?" I'll put this all in perspective for you...

A week ago, I was at a family picnic and one of my cousins came up to my wife and began telling her stories of my high school days when I used to run track. I broke a high school record for the fastest quarter mile that stood for close to eight years. He also told her of how he (who is 3 years younger than me) and my other cousin, who I'll call L. (who is 8 years younger than me), used to come to the meets to see me run. Back then, I was a lean, mean machine who wrote poetry in the wind (okay, I'm taking a little literary license here).

Well, guess what? Eight years after I graduated from high school, my cousin L. (who was 10 years old when I was running) was now 18 years old himself and essentially broke my long standing record. I was there when he broke it... I was 26 years old by that time and still thought I had a little game. So, I challenged him to a friendly race one night... just to see if he really, really was as fast as everyone said (actually, my ego was a little bruised). We raced and he beat me resoundly... thus, settling the matter.

This guy, who used to come to my races and cheer me on when he was 10 years old, had now grown up and taken my mantle from me... but, it was his season to shine. For a long while, I couldn't get over that... I made up excuses like the very true fact that I hadn't run competitive track in about 5 years (I ran cross country in college), I was out of shape, etc. The truth is, I was just too old to be trying to race an 18 year old.

I felt a little bit better when my cousin's record was broken the very next year by a young gentleman, who I won't name here, but went on to run on the U.S. Olympic team of 1988. Today, my cousin L., who is now in his mid-forties and myself are in no physical shape to challenge anybody (except maybe someone in a nursing home). We often laugh about our competition back when we were much younger and how we both learned how to deal with "our season to shine".

The thing is, even when your season to shine is over and someone else ascends to where you once stood, it doesn't mean that your life is over, it just means that it's time for you to move on to the next stage of the game that we call "life". Women seem to understand this but, for some reason, men don't. This is why you see some guys still trying to wear something that went out of style 20 years ago and they have to fight with their wives to keep them from throwing it away (not that I would know anything about that).

Besides, there are all kinds of seasons... our youth-oriented society makes people feel as though life ends the day after you turn 29 years old but, that's not necessarily true. I've learned acceptance of my limitations, appreciation for my past, and look forward to my future with curiosity and wonderment.

21 comments:

Thoughts of a Southern gal said...

Men and their egos. lol

Good story!

Rich Fitzgerald said...

I can really appreciate this post, because I do realize that the seasons do change and if you are not evolving, you wind up getting left out in the cold.

12kyle said...

This is sooooo true. We all have our day in the sun. We all had the day when we were the big man on campus. We all had that day when we had the flyest gear and we had all of the chicks. But at some point...we all must move on and grow up.

great post mah brutha!

Mizrepresent said...

Oh, i really loved this post Keith. And yes, i have had my season of glory, many times, and today i am glad that i did because i am often reminded of that girl, that woman who was and still is "all that". Like you said we just have to push forward...my season will come again, as seasons do...and this time i will do even better!

Sean said...

Very Good Post Keith, Very introspective!

Captain Jack said...

The ego can be one mean mother!!

Toni said...

LOL @ Southern Girl...She is right though..Men and their egos!

Angie B. said...

Seasons do change and it is hard for both men and women to realize that they're not always going to be top dog.

Sunflower said...

What a wonderful and introspective post Keith!

Brenda said...

That's what I love about your blog..you teach others and teach yourself at the same time!

Halo said...

Loved your track story about you and your cousin.lololol.

Vanessa said...

We all have our day in the sun..and like you said..it is extremely hard for some to come from out of the sun and allow someone else to shine.

Lisa said...

I can appreciate this, because as a woman I have had to deal with jealousy from others who wouldn't allow me my moment to shine.

Cheryl said...

Good Post....I loved your story Keith.

Jazzy said...

Another honest and telling effort fam!

Grover Tha Playboy said...

Always droppin the science on us bruh!

James Perkins said...

If you're not changing and moving on..you're becoming stagnant. Good
Post.

Simon Bastion said...

We must all adapt to the changes in our bodies and our lives.This post was so true.

TATE2 said...

So I guess this means that I'm not always gonna be this fly huh? lololol Just kidding, I understand completely what you were trying to say.

Swaggie said...

Great Post and good story as well!

ShellyShell said...

I love this post! I too was a runner and have records to this day. I thought about them the other day because the school called my parents to get my address because next year at my reunion I'm getting inducted into the hall of fame. It just reminds me how nice I was on the track but now I'm just a shell of that person. I still have the competitive drive but can't burn up the track the way I used to!




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