Pass The Baton
Run this relay we call living, with your people who know how to receive and pass the baton with verve and energy.
My sincere apologies if you are receiving this twice, mishap on the backend where the wrong platform was used to send the first email to you. If this happens again, make sure to collect your share of the reparations when you see me. Thanks. Chidi.
Lord knows it's been a while. I wish I could say to you I took a break this summer, just to refresh and refract (I'll expand on this refract concept I have been working on in a bit).
However, it's been a cruel summer. Ok, I couldn't help referencing one of my most-played songs on Spotify by Bananarama. Nah...it wasn't a cruel summer, that is not a fair characterization.
It was a tough summer. It is still a tough summer. Things ain't thinging this summer, folks. When I look at the dashboards for the five areas I track, I call them "loads"—work, family, community, money, and health—the needles have been all over the place, a lack of harmony that is, frankly, kicking my ass. The work of retuning and optimizing those life speedometers is in play...it is tough, but as I like to say, "progress, Chidi...not perfection."
How is it looking for me? Using drive (forward), neutral, stalled, and reverse (backward) as my scales. And the distinction b/w neutral and stalled is that neutral means you have control over things so that's on you, stalled means you have either lost or don't have control over things.
Work—Neutral plus (need to more missionary stuff that calls my name, the mercenary is exposing me to some BS walai)
Family—Drive (we are cranking. family is number one)
Community—Neutral (hmm...this is a separate write-up. this is a tough one for me right now, for real)
Money— Stalled (the goalposts and the income are creating more distance than I would like to admit. the corraling process has been initiated)
Health—Neutral (mental is good, physical is ok. Combined? Could be better).
I should have at least three drives in there—too many neutrals. I have work to do.
What are your life speedometers looking like?
Now, if you want to talk about speedometers, I've been mesmerized by the World Track Championships happening right now in Budapest. I love track and field, especially the sprints as I appreciate the intensity, the flow, the explosiveness, the sudden starts and dramatic finishes, the beauty of the body in tight formation and motion. The big star of the games has been Sha'Carri Richardson, the world's reigning women's 100M champion, a story of redemption and boldness, that has caught the world's attention as she was literally and publicly at rock bottom just a year and change ago. Talented as hell, but was way too focused on the externalities—aesthetics, social media, soundbites, unnecessary gra-gra (aggression).
And it cost her. Big time. And then she went quiet.
Flash forward to Budapest, and the young gun came with all engines firing. Her win over a loaded field (plug!) in the women's 100M was a thrilling end to a comeback that people like myself have been rooting for. Especially when the world turned on her when she was at her lowest.
“I’m not worried about the world anymore, I’ve seen the world be my friend, I’ve seen the world turn on me."
You and me both, sister.
To make things sweeter, she also anchored the US's blistering win in the 4x100M women's relay, which is always my favorite race. This one she didn't and couldn't win by herself, now she had a squad, and they set her up to build a lead that even the deadly track assassin and sprinter head hunter, Shericka Jackson of Jamaica, couldn't overcome.
I love relay races. Especially the 4x100m. If you haven't watched Usain Bolt and his Jamaican brothers annihilate the world record in 2012, you need to pause and watch it. Or when the US women did the same thing at the same meet...Carmelita Jeter looked like she was running on pure and undiluted vibranium.
Talk about drama. Kai! Got me standing and yelling at the screen.
For me, the analogue to the relay race is this craziness that we call living. It is a big time relay—not a race—but a full blown ironman + a bike ride though the Sahara + a trek up Everest journey with all kinds of batons being passed every freaking time you decide to do something great, move the chains, find your path, venture out. Batons you expect, batons you didn't expect, batons you don't even want. Which leg are you running? Are folks depending on you to anchor them to the finish line? Are you the one folks are leaning on for a smooth baton pass so things work out? Is it your role to get things going with a fast start? Usain Bolt didn't win all those relays by himself, he had to rely on his teammates to get the baton safely to him. And at the right time, and right place. Sha'Carri's comeback would have been tainted a bit if Gabby Thomas didn't run that turn like a maniac and literally push her to victory. The intensity of the relay is a microcosm of this wahala we jam to everyday. Wake up, and there are batons waiting in your email, your Whatsapp is lit up with batons, even the drive to work is baton passing at its core.
The thing is, we have no control over the fact that we have to run our races, our marathons, or to take on our journeys. The big wahala though...is how we carry our batons, who we get them from, and who we have to hand them to. I try my best, especially when things are not quite kosher, to do my baton receiving and passing with my people that really know how to run the tough relays. Not folks who just know how to run.
As Hiroyuki Sanada said in John Wick 4, "Friendship means little when it's convenient."
We dey here.