March Madness

The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali

It’s something I learned a while ago, but bears repeating: time invariably marches on. Whether you do or not depends entirely on you, and not on anything or anyone else. Try as you might, it’s impossible to will the seconds from slipping away and slinking off into minutes, hours, days, or years of lost time. No matter what I do, I just won’t be able to reclaim the moments spent worrying and convert them into time spent rejoicing.

Although, what would you do if you could stop time?

Wouldn’t you want to stop time in a happy moment? This is what I’d like to think, but the allure of the past presents itself in the inevitable “What if?” game that is so tempting to play when things just don’t work out the way we’d planned. Wallowing feels so good because it lets you ruminate on events as you’d wished they’d occurred, and can lull you into a false sense of inability to take action. If you’re unhappy with your present situation, it’s you that needs to take charge and change it.

There was a study done to determine the relative happiness of past Olympic winners based on assessing how happy they looked in photos (link to it here) and it found that happiness wasn’t sufficient for smiling. Getting the gold probably feels awesome immediately, but it’s likely more relieving knowing that the culmination of your efforts were successful. I can’t help but feel that the silver of second place is a terrible disappointment, mainly because you happen to be the first to lose.

At least, that’s how I’ve framed it whenever I’ve come close to achieving my goals and then find myself missing the mark. It didn’t matter that I aimed for the moon and missed only to still land among the stars, my goal was the moon and anything else is less. The problem lies with me, because the issue is with how I personally choose to continue to see my accomplishments through the frame of failure.

With that said, I know I’ve got to work towards setting new goals, and take the steps to move towards them. I’ve found Rudyard Kipling’s poem below to be a wonderful description of what that ought to look like, so it’s here for your enjoyment:

If / Si
English Español
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
Rudyard Kipling

Si puedes mantener tu cabeza cuando todos
Alrededor de ti pierden suyos y te echan la culpa;
Si puedes mantener fe en ti cuando todos te dudan,
Pero puedes aceptar que ellos te dudan, también:
Si puedes esperar sin enfadarte de estar esperando,
O, sufrir mentiras, sin tambien empesar a mentir,
O ser odiado sin tampoco llegar a odiar otros,
Y también no mirarte tan bueno ni hablar muy sabio;

Si puedes sonar—y no dejar que tus sueños sen tu dueño;
Si puedes pensar—y no dejar pensamientos ser tu destino,
Si puedes conocer a Triunfo y a Desmadre
Y tratar a esos dos impostores como iguales:
Si puedes aguantar escuchar los verdades que has dicho
Convertido por bribones para hacer trampas para los tontos
O mirar las cosas que has dado tu vida, quebradas,
Y bajar a arreglarlas con instrumentos ancianos;

Si puedes hacer un monte de todos tus ganancias,
Y arriesgar todo en un solo turno de un juego,
Y perder todo, y empezar de nuevo como cuando tuviste nada,
Y nunca decir ni siquiera una palabra que perdiste:
Si puedes mandar tu corazón y músculo y nervio
Servirte por mucho mas tiempo después de que se han perdido,
Y seguir aguantando cuando ya tienes nada
Menos la Esperanza que todavía dice: “Espera!”

Si puedes hablar con multitudes y mantener tu virtud,
O caminar con Reyes—y no perder tu humildad,
Si enemigos ni amistades pueden hacerte daño,
Si todos te pueden contar, pero ninguno mucho:
Si puedes llenar el minuto que no perdone
Con sesenta segundos de distancia corrida,
Tuyo es el Mundo y todo
Que esta en el,
Y—que es mas—serás un
Hombre, mijo!
Rudyard Kipling (a través de mi traducción)

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