At a fundamental level, all levels of classic Super Mario games are about getting from point A to Point B. There are many obstacles in between: Fireballs, flying torpedoes, goombas, koopas, and moving platforms. Each level, however, can only be overcome by jumping.
Our lives are like these levels – we have goals to approach and complete, and once they are at last done, there is another, often harder level. There are more obstacles to overcome. There are bigger battles to complete. There are far more complicated, precarious jumps.
Many times, these obstacles and jumps lead us to fall, to ‘die’ in the level, and have to go back to the beginning. There, we feel as if we have lost all the skills and power-ups we have gained. We might even go back a step to re-gain a fire flower or penguin suit.
When we fail a level of life time and time again, we often want to give up and go to a spot of safety. We could just sit complacent at the beginning of a level. There are no obstacles nor enemies. Only time running down in the corner.
We could re-do a level we have done many times before, enjoying the ease we breeze through it and bounce our way to the end. We can re-do it a thousand times, because it is safe, because it appears to be fun.
But, after a while, we will realize we are giving in to fear.
And in giving into fear, we are missing out on a wide world of food-named places to explore. What if we were to stay on Donut Plains, and never discover the wonders of Vanilla Dome, let alone the amazing Dhino Rhinos of Chocolate Island?
To move forward, we have to jump. Sometimes, we have to take risks and jump into unknown places and spaces. This might result in failing, but we can get back up and try again. This might also result in something wondrous and undiscovered, in a secret passage that will get us to our goal faster, or one more dragon coin or star coin to unlock something special. We can’t know unless we take the jump.
With each jump, we get better at timing and aiming and leaping. We can reach higher, jump faster, and keep our power-ups for longer. There will still be pits and spikes and Bullet Bills in our way, but we know better how to dodge them and keep running toward the end of the level.
And what do we do once we finally cross that finish line, and reach that goal? We go on to the next level, the next goal, and keep progressing.
This is what I am preparing to do, by attending graduate school. I have taken my jumps and fallen flat on my face. They have prepared me for this jump, and for leaping across a couple states and venturing into new territory. I am sure I will have failures along the way, but they are there to help me learn and grow and become better. I will also have successes to build on which will help me make my way to a greater finish.
In short: We can’t get to a higher level, unless we jump.
- What leaps have you made in your life?
- What is your favorite Mario game?
- What jumps are you working on right now?
- Did you know packing is a lot of work? (So is wrapping up working at a job after several years.)
Side Note 1: Speaking of taking jumps in life, my friend Andres Salazar is currently running a Kickstarter to fund Part 2 of his Pariah, Missouri graphic novel series. There will be more on this next week.
Side Note 2: Another friend of mine, Heather of HopeForHeather.wordpress.com, is taking a jump by running a campaign to raise awareness for rare diseases. She has Cowden’s Syndrome, and it does some crazy stuff. That’s the short version. You can find out more here.
Side Note 3: A bit of housekeeping – This week, I am wrapping up my current job. Next week, I am packing and moving. I will try to run two posts next week, and one the following week as I go through orientation. I start actual school on September 2nd, and should get back into a regular return within the next week or two.
Here’s to seeing what will happen.
Side Note 4: This post will also be the basis of my tenth and final speech for Toastmasters@UCSB. I’ll update this post later if I have time in the next few days.