Commentary: When the rat race comes to a grinding halt


Matuesz Dach

The constant race that makes up many Americans’ lives has been forcefully put on pause.

Life is full of stepping stones.

Every single action that we take is meant to propel us forward on our path to success, to happiness, to being employed.

But lately it feels as if time has halted.

The constant race to being the best has been paused.

When the days all bleed together and most of your time is spent in the same place, how is it possible to move forward?

For many highschoolers we feel as if we must constantly outdo each other, we have to get the highest grade on the test and take the most APs and be involved in the most extracurriculars. All so that we can go to a better college and get a more successful job and have a bigger house.

We are motivated by running past others in the marathon of life.

It’s been hard to not be in constant competition.

At times I’ve felt purposeless without being able to compare myself to others, I’ve felt as if an addictive pattern of thinking has been forcefully shut off.

That’s such a stupid and toxic way to keep forward momentum, but I sadly don’t believe I’m the only one to think in this way.

We’ve all been halted in our tracks.

The constant, swirling speed with which we’re expected to move can no longer exist when there is nothing but time to kill.

Our frantic motions have changed to slow shifts.

And even though the competition has died, at least for a while, I think it has allowed us all some room to breathe. 

The need for comparison has subsided so that all we can do is look at ourselves.

When there is no one to be better than, when there is no one to pass, there is only us.

And that is when we are truly moving ourselves forward, at those times where you realize you only enjoyed the sport because there was always someone to beat. 

That’s when you have to find the things that you enjoy all on your own.

So I’m glad to have this time free of the pulsing race.

I’ll probably get back to studying and measuring myself with others once this is all over, but it’s been freeing to only care about myself, just for a bit.

Hopefully we will all get out of this with the realization that we have to slow down every once and awhile.

Hopefully we will never forget that in the marathon of life there is only ever one person we are truly racing.