Stupid, Stupid Rat Race

Adenike Jemiyo
Real success. I often ponder what success really is. Before I loved jogging and running, I easily succumbed to other people's definition of what success was. They all saw it as winning in a rat race they have organized for other people (or which other people have organized for them). I also tried to run and win in that race like a fool.

But when I started jogging alone and meditating on life as I jogged, I realized the vanity of a rat race and discovered the true meaning of success. 

You know what real success is? It's NOT running in the rat race. That's real success. In fact, it's real freedom. Unless you break out and finally have nothing to do with rat races, you aren't really free. 

Google sees rat races as---"a way of life in which people are caught up in a fiercely competitive struggle for wealth or power. An exhausting, usually competitive routine." Sounds really stupid, isn't it?

Here's how Urban Dictionary sees it---"a frustrating, hard-to-break financial lifestyle. It is a lifestyle that is lived by countless people, oblivious to the very nature of it, to a degree that even when called upon, vehemently deny it."

Yup, countless people are in this race, die-hard to win it, and yet deny it. 

I know a lot of folks around who are like this (and they're trying to win me back to the race). I like to call them collectively as Mr. Rat Racer. Like King Saul in the bible who made a monument for himself, they like to make a name for themselves and be remembered forever so they build monuments everywhere they call "accomplishments." Their number one fear in life is to be forgotten, especially after they die. 

And they want to be great. So they try to outrace everyone. I can just imagine the stress they have. That's why they're sickly, troubled and restless. They're here, there and everywhere, trying to make noise and call attention to themselves. They're everywhere. What a life of confusion and frustration but they won't admit to that, of course. They'd say you are the one stressed out and confused and frustrated if you don't become like them.

For a while back then, I looked for a true model of success. I studied Jose Rizal because I thought he was successful and led a meaningful life. Then I thought it was Ninoy Aquino or Ho Chi Minh or Mother Teresa or St. Francis of Assisi or Robert Kiyosaki or Jon Orana 😃 (I hope Jon gets to read this). 

Then I decided without a doubt that it was Jesus. He was (and is) a certified non-participant in any rat race. He wasn't a rat. He ran his own race set by the Father, and it wasn't to compete or be great or prove anything. He just ran because he was a runner. Period. The Runner. 

I just run because I'm a runner. A Jagero. I like that. It's full of meaning, wisdom and inspiration.

I don't run because I have new rubber shoes, like many people do. I'd run even on barefoot because I'm a runner. I don't run because there's a race. A lot of people think there are runners because there's a race. Races don't make runners---runners make races. 

I have a race all my own set by the Father. That alone I run. There's no trophy or medal to win. The whole idea is to run with God and enjoy it. 

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The jogger and the other side of his life. How jogging connects with and crisscrosses real and unreal life. Aside from jogging and brisk walking, this blog is about a jogger's tips for those who seem to lose their way in life.