So often we spend our days wondering why something happened to us. It’s so much easier to say that it’s someone else’s fault. “I only have this crappy job because my boss at my last job was a jerk so I left.” Were they just riding you because you weren’t performing to the standards of the job and you didn’t want to work harder? “I only have this crappy relationship because I can’t find anything else so I can’t leave.” Have you tried respecting yourself enough to leave and find something that makes you happy? Maybe you should stop relying on someone else to lean on and start looking inward for strength. I was talking to my uncle the other day and he told me about a song that I hadn’t heard called “The Boxer” by Simon & Garfunkel. It’s been covered many times so if you don’t like the softer style of Paul & Art, I’m sure you can find a style you like. If you’re unfamiliar with it like I was, give it a listen; it really is great.
The song is about a young man, away from home, scared, with no money, no one to love, no where to go, maybe even fighting addiction. He’s searching for work but no one will give him a job. He finds what little comfort he can in the embrace of prostitutes, and he ends up homeless and hopeless. It seems that the young man has resigned himself to death, seemingly suicide, by wishing that he was gone. But then, he has a moment of clarity in which he sees a boxer.
He talks about seeing this boxer that was clearly a fighter. Now in the world of boxing you have people that are very technical and use a great deal of finesse – these are your strategists. Then you have fighters, that put their head down and keep moving forward absorbing all of the blows along the way, walking through them until they get close enough to fight their fight. He sees the visible scars and bruises that the boxer has suffered throughout the years. The damage that the boxer has taken throughout all of the bouts has lead him to become so angry and shameful that he even cries out, “I am leaving, I am leaving!” Yet the boxer stands his ground, he wants to continue fighting even through his momentary lack of resolve and openness to quit.
I don’t think this song is just about a downtrodden young man who is finally at the end of his rope, sees someone that he thinks is better than himself, and finally decides to leave and go home as the boxer remains. I think this song is about a man who really is at the end, feels he can’t take another moment, and finally sees that fighter that lives inside of himself. He sees all of the brutal blows he’s taken over the years as a physical manifestation seemingly standing in front of him. He sees his emotional broken bones, his psychological scars, his spiritual bloodshed, all the way to the current moment he finds himself in: wanting to leave, wanting to quit, wanting to die. Then he realizes that his fighter isn’t done, his fight isn’t over, his boxer won’t quit.
I think that this song does go to a very dark place for this young man to find his fighter. Don’t wait until you get fired or feel compelled to quit, find your fighter today and start working harder. Don’t wait until you’re full of resentment for someone else and don’t want to be with them anymore, find your boxer today and be assertive, make a decision for YOUR happiness. A life lived focusing on your limitations doesn’t give you any time to fulfill your potential. Stop drinking, stop smoking, stop the “woe is me” mentality and do something to change your situation. Until the value of your freedom, the value of your self-respect, the value of your happiness and success finally exceeds the value of your complacency, the value of your “comfort zone”, the value of your vices and self-pity, you’ll never start fighting. Find the fighter that lives deep inside of you. Feed it, train it, learn from it, until you start to live it. Once you realize that YOU are worth fighting FOR is when you actually start counter-punching! Don’t quit – commit, fight back, and WIN! THIS is The 12th Round.