Barun Kalita
Barun Kalita Co-founder at Thousandfeeds. Interested in technology, culture, politics, sports, history etc.

Life is not a race yet you are the runner

Life is not a race yet you are the runner

How many of you consider Life is a race? I guess many but I beg to differ here. Life is not a race to be won. Its a journey to be savoured.



“Run as fast as you can else someone will outpace you. Life is a race and you are a runner. Keep running until the line is reached..” and so on.

Isn’t it what all of us are made accustomed to in today’s world but is life really a race? Life being a race is what we are told by many elderly people; parents, grandparents, teachers and at times even friends though not everyone’s parent or grandparents tell them. Of course parallel can be drawn between life and a race and no doubt there are similarities but the truth is different. Life is not a race.

A sprinter prepares for an event for months or even years) before the D-day. He outlays a perfect plan for himself with his coaches and staff. Training becomes quite rigorous. The determined man wakes up early in the morning, runs cross country, eats healthy food and he does all of this everyday! The whole journey of training becomes a part of his life and he dedicates himself completely into this. The experiences gained in this journey, the friends met etc adds up as new accomplishment for him. As the big day arrives, he is standing in the line along with few others. When the race begins, he feels the heat, his own muscles and the atmosphere around him. During the last leap of winning the race, the feeling and the joy he gets is going to stay with him forever. This is the feeling to be treasured for the rest of his life. So what Now? For this man, all those events are now just a fragment of his memory but what remains is that feeling and the emotion. The sweat of his training lures him back. The taste of glory calls him back but only thing he can do now is smile and try to re-live those moments on his mind time and again. Today this man realises it was never the ‘materialistic victory’ or the medals which brings him joy but the feeling of competing or the compassion of the journey he had undergone for that victory gives him sense of relief and wholeness.

In real life too, we all are in a rush to complete the race. We try to outrun others in the race. We all are constantly engaged to make ourselves better in every possible way just to make our life comfortable (you may call it that) in later phase of our life. Perhaps all of us are trying to give that extra effort to make things easier for us but not for today but for a day we believe shall come when we can bear the fruits of our today’s deeds. Good, no harm doing that but should it be at the expense of ‘not living’ one’s present life or to put it in another way  not enjoying the present by being far too pre-occupied in improving the future. That future will never come. As soon as that day, that day will become ‘the present’ and you will have another future to worry about. It is a circle with no ending or full stop. One is simply living his life to make something better which may never come. People forget friends, family, social living and everything. They become mechanical with the hope of fitting into the system of thousands other. Then a day comes, when death is near or when on the death bed or even perhaps the days of one’s life when he/she is left all alone by themselves with none around but the big mansions or walls of the  bungalows . The person wonders he did everything perfect, he stretched to his limits, he had achieved everything he had asked for or yearned for but why is there a hollow feeling?

The point is it was never about what lies beyond the finishing line. It was never ever about winning the race but if there was something it was about how one completes the race. There is no glory in finishing the race, glory lies in running the race along with others . It is about sprinting and sharing the track with your loved ones. It is about nurturing the loved ones when they lose their breath while running the race. Person engaed in rat race may realize one day that it is a complete full-stop after the race and there is indeed nothing at the other side of the race.

Is there any particular reason for it? Technically there is no answer but spiritually I can give you one. Everyday there is something you want or you desire. It may be a thing or a person. The process of getting or achieving that may be short term or even long term. Eventually even if you get it, will you be satisfied or not? Yes, you will be but it would be momentarily. It is human nature and behaviour to lose the values of things they get. A new desire or a new wish creeps in and you forget the old accomplishment. It is a process which continues. Man is never satisfied, he yearns more.

There is no reward for completing the race my friend. Please run at your own speed and run how you like it. Don’t try to run other’s race. It is your own race, run how you like it. Stop worrying about the consequences. Live in the present, share the glory of being a part of this race. No amount of gold, silver or money will or can compensate what you will miss if you try to rush things and miss the very essence of running. Don’t just run for the sake of running because at the end journey is important and not the race!!

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