So, I’ve been away for a while and thought it’d be nice to share some things I “learned” from my experience at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia. I say “learned” because a few of these things I already knew, but they’ve been confirmed through my experience.

I was gonna give you a blow by blow of what happened for me to even get there, but it’s long. You wouldn’t read it and tbh, I stopped writing it halfway.

tl;dr, missed the first flight, flew out alone, got a sick room, had the sick room taken away from me, slept on a sofa bed, got another sick room, moved to the village, saw bare athletes, broke my MacBook, fixed my MacBook, did 1 relay practice, won the heat, won the final, came home.

Without further ado,

Age is just a number

I don’t mean this in that scumbaggy way that 25 year olds justify their 16 year old partners because they “act mature” (if that’s what you like, do you init. Just stay away from my siblings cos this household ain’t supporting it too tough). I mean it in the sense that your abilities aren’t generally bound to the length of time you’ve been on the planet. If you’re capable of applying yourself, you can do anything (again, not in a stupid way, don’t apply yourself to flying off a bridge, then come & blame me. Kwasia.). I’m sure whatever sector of life you’re involved in, you have contemporaries both older and younger than you. Ability is ability, man. And this isn’t just about things like running or singing or art. This includes the ability to be a good person. The ability to understand others. The ability to not be a jokeman. You don’t just become a better person as you age unless you try to be. You gotta make a conscious effort. Don’t be an old jokeman. Oh, yeah. The amount of times I was called kid, little one & other patronising terms… boy. Got a shiny new toy though init. Goo goo ga ga gold, boyyyy.

Be yourself

Nobody can make you do or feel or be anything that isn’t you. They can’t. They actually physically have no control over you. If you know what you’re on, you know what you’re on. Do it to the fullest. Being yourself attracts others who are like you towards you, like a personality gravity. A persogravity, if you will. People may even respect you more for being that way. And if they don’t, you were never doing it for them, anyway.

If everyone is special, no-one is

Man. Events like competitions, where people have to qualify… even things like university where you have to get particular grades to go to certain places, these people are all the best in their respective areas. Yes, some of those areas aren’t as good as others so it’s easier to qualify. Cool. But once you’re all in the same place… you’re not that different. When you’re surrounded by people who all believe they’re special for one reason or another, you realise that’s not enough. The difference between being special and being truly transcendent is what you do next. Don’t rest on your laurels. Be better every day. Never settle. Or don’t, init. I’m not a life coach and I don’t care what you do; this is just cathartic and it’s passing time on the plane. Just know that if you don’t, you’ll probably be exposed for just how normal you really are.

Don’t be an opp to opportunity

lol. So, for the last couple days, maybe even a week… lies, as soon as I got the call to come to Australia, I knew I was leaving with a medal. And I had a hunch it was gonna be gold. So from then up until the last day of the competition, I’ve been thinking about how I was gonna deal with the “he’s so lucky/it’s only because of injuries/it’s only Commonwealth” comments that people are either thinking or saying to each other. And I’ve finally decided I don’t care. Don’t be an opp to opportunity. In life, do you know how many things are the result of coincidences? You literally wouldn’t be you if your father used protection. Or unless the one sperm met with the one egg to form you. Sometimes people get hired to meet a diversity quota. Sometimes you get into school because someone came off the waiting list. I’m sure there’s better examples of chance dictating things in your life. I had a chance and I took it with both hands, and the rest is literally history. Wikipedia soon come init (edit: I actually have one now and it doesn’t say “this page is a stub, you can help Wikipedia by expanding it”. Like, it defo needs to be expanded but FAM. Idc, I’m gassed. Issa start). Plagiarise me for Black History Month in 2088. Hopefully what I’ve done allows other less experienced people in my field (which is the track, lol bars) like myself to be afforded opportunities so they can grab them, too.

Most people aren’t trying to be bad…

Cut people some slack. I was in the arena (literally and metaphorically) with many people that I’ve never ever met before, and the only time I’ve seen them is on TV, where I criticise them from the comfort of my home. Which is easy. And fun, sometimes. But very wrong. People, like you, are generally trying to be the best that they can. That sometimes doesn’t go to plan. In a race, only 1 person can win you know. People have to lose. Some people lose more frequently than others, but that doesn’t cheapen their hustle at all.

… though some people aren’t trying to be better…

Of course, for every person who wants better for themselves, there are people who are extremely content with where they are. Pim, init. They don’t spend time on themselves so I am in no way inclined to spend more time talking about them. Identify them and avoid them. They’re cancerous.

…but it really doesn’t matter.

It actually doesn’t. I’ve been saying this for a while, but people don’t actually know why they like or dislike people. They just do. Ultimately that’s what it boils down to. If you like someone, you’ll make allowances for them, and if you don’t, nothing will sway you from your stance. Take this medal for example. My actual friends actually like me. Well, they like me enough to WhatsApp me congratulations. These are the same people who have consistently talked down the importance of a relay medal… and the importance of the Commonwealths, tbh. I’ve definitely been a part of those discussions, both echoing that sentiment and playing Devil’s advocate. And that’s not a slight on my friends, the event, the competition or myself, because at the end of the day you gotta call a spade a spade and dig your own grave init. It’s just to highlight that it’s not the act, it’s the actor. Because that’s when facts become factors. (Feel free to quote that bc I’m 10000% gonna quote myself, that’s hard. Just reference it properly. Arthur, R. 2018.)

Branch out

So I’m a sprinter, right? Usually when I go on these kinds of team trips for a competition, I tend to stick with other sprinters. Those are my friends outside off athletics, usually, so we just get along. This time, my roommate was an 800m runner, and we shared a flat with 2 pole vaulters and 2 high jumpers (Room 2302 to di worl.). Honestly, it was the best experience I could have had. I think event groups have certain personality commonalities (kiiiiinda what my disso is looking at), and when you’re around the same kind of person for too long, you can make the mistake of thinking that is all there is in the world. Spoiler alert – it’s not. There are many wonderful people that exist outside of your regular circle, and it should be your life’s goal to seek out these gems and experience a different perspective. You won’t regret it. Also, do you know what the Pareto Principle is? I came across it in 2016 when I was looking for motivation or something. Basically, it states that 80% of a result comes from 20% of a cause. For example, 80% of the issues in your life come from 20% of the people in your life. Do with that what you will.

Find a balance

Like, in everything. Personally, I believe that extremes are bad. You can be too serious, which can be as detrimental as being too nonchalant. You can be proud of yourself without becoming arrogant, and you can be humble without being self-deprecating. While I was out there I spent some time working on my dissertation, some time chilling with friends, some time training hard and some time taking in the experience for what it was. Balance. Know what the situation requires of you and adapt accordingly. I haven’t heard extremists get any kind of good publicity. Ever.

If you stay ready…

…you ain’t gotta get ready. I think I’ve been saying this for at least 3 years now, so please don’t think I’m looking for a catchphrase or something. Have you met me? I am the catchphrase. Some people get it, most people don’t, but this person doesn’t care. I don’t know what’s not to get (word to Cheriece). Listen. Life is going to be unpredictable. That’s it’s nature. All you can do is be as prepared for anything as possible. Have contingencies in place to reduce the feelings of unpreparedness. We do this sometimes in life, but I don’t think we do it consistently and consciously enough. Maybe you do, idk. But the more you have your life in order, the less you can be surprised. Savings help reduce the panic of unexpected bills. Becoming more independent makes it easier to leave a bad partner. Eating the rice at home before you go out allows you to just get a starter when the food at the restaurant is whack. Stay ready.


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