The other day, someone awoke something in me that I hadn’t felt for quite some time. It’s been eating away at me a little nibble at a time since, ever-so-slightly changing my actions, thoughts, plans and behaviour. They managed to get under my skin and start to bring back something I’d thought I’d lost a long time ago.
Somehow, they’d managed to light my flame anew. The flame that urges us forward to compete. The blame that makes us yearn for success at almost any cost. The flame that won’t see us satisfied until our opponents are crushed, wallowing in the scraps left behind from an undeniable defeat.
It’s the yearning to be the absolute best, and the unwillingness to let anyone else tell you any different. When I was younger, it was borne from the environment I was in — a super-competitive high school where everyone was striving for the same thing. After that, while I might not have been the best at anything in particular, I convinced myself that what I was doing was good enough. And I did what most of us tend to do in such a scenario…
I grew complacent. I grew comfortable. The fight was gone. I just want to live out my days and do okay.
But then this came along.
We all act differently when someone judges us. Patronizes us. Casts an unfair light on our actions without allowing us a chance to defend ourselves.
Some people get offended and block the problem out, refusing to deal with it except for their tears and pain. Some people genuinely don’t care and continue living their lives as they did before, regardless of whether it’s for better or worse. For a long time, that second person was me, cruising along, figuring things out as I went.
But thanks to this person — and I doubt that they even know what they’ve done — for now, I’m back. It’s been a long time, but deep within me, I feel it. The urge to get things done. The clarity I needed to take a good stab at it all and build something of consequence. The yearning to make sure that no one can speak ill of my name ever again.
You don’t know who you are, but thank you.
It’s game time.
–Casey E. Palmer