The Scoreboard of Life
The scoreboard is the greatest thief of the game. You’re looking up and down the bleachers of a crowded football game and see eyes glancing back and forth between the game and the scoreboard. Some fans only care about the score, the numbers on the board that they believe defines the entirety of a team’s abilities. Some fans base their predictions off of the scoreboards of the past, placing previous performance above the present predicament. And some fans just really love the game for the game; the scoreboard doesn't even matter as long as the game was riveting and well-played. I’d like to think that we’re the fans (although sometimes we struggle cheering ourselves on), the present is the game, and the scoreboard is the past.
The past is the greatest thief of the present. Personally, I have seen a wide array of people, including myself, who struggle with this seemingly constant pull of attention. There seems to lie a dissonance between what we want to enjoy and what we let ourselves enjoy. We’ve all heard the phrase “live in the now,” and to some, it’s become a cliche statement because duh, you're technically always in the now, the present situation, right? However, though I roll my eyes when I see it plastered on pillows and screensavers, this phrase will always have weight to me because of my ever so involuntary tendency to relive my past while my present is still rolling. And it’s usually not because my past is crazy awesome and I just can't help but imagine the great times I had. Usually, it consists of me tallying up all the things I did wrong or regret, which is usually a slippery slope to defining who I think I am now because of the past.
Sometimes we’re like those fans that only care about the score. We think what we did in our past defines who we are now and there is no way to improve because no matter how much we progress, it still doesn't change the things of the past. Incorrect. Our present and future can greatly surpass who we were or what we did in the past. Our lives are a progression, not a reflection, though reflection is needed to progress. Some fans base their predictions off of the scoreboards of the past. Sometimes we assume that because something happened in the past, it is going to happen again, skewing life to be some sort of repetitious cycle, which inhibits us from opportunities that could be incredible in our lives. We’re so quick to say things like, “ugh I always get screwed over by guys so I’m not even gonna try,”… even though there were some good guys in between, but you love to use superlatives. Or “Ugh, I’m always too nice to people and all it ever does is backfire, so I guess that’s something I have to change”… but you forget to think about all the people in your life now that respect your kindness and don't take it for granted. Or “last time I rode that rollercoaster I threw up so I’d rather not” … but the last time was when you were 8 and you had just eaten a hot dog and a funnel cake and now you’re 21… and still comparing yourself to your 8-year-old self.
When we’re constantly thinking about who we were in the past or what has happened in the past, we take away from our present and what could happen in the future. We’re enabling our own stagnancy. This is especially important to consider when thinking about other people and I’ve found it extremely important in romantic relationships as well. It’s almost easier to judge other people for their past than it is our own even though we would just hate if somebody were to judge us the same. It’s easy to slip into the trend of assuming that somebody’s past defines their present identity. “Did you hear John used to be a raging alcoholic?”… now we’re assuming that John, who has been sober for three years, is trouble, so we’d better not get involved. “I heard Cathy used to sleep with so many guys in college”… now we’re assuming Cathy is incapable of a monogamous relationship, and therefore judge her character as faulty even though she shows nothing but kind qualities. And with these judgments based on the past, we’re denying present people a chance at progression because of a scoreboard that should be minuscule in comparison to the love of the game.
Everybody’s past says something about who they are, but it does not define them. But if you’re still concerned with the scoreboard, think about how high your numbers could be if you exerted all your energy into your present day, treating each day like the first day of your New Years resolutions, and making that game the most riveting and well-played of all. I promise your score will never look better.
Photographer: Lucy Blumenfield @exi.t
Model 1: @summirwilson
Model 2: @epiphanyalayah
Creative Direction: @weslee_kate