One of my favorite songs of all-time is from a group named Five for Fighting. This song is titled “Superman (It’s Not Easy).” As I sort of sit and sort of stand here trying to write at a standing desk standing on just one leg (how much longer will I be on crutches?) that song is resonating in my mind for a variety of reasons, one of which is the most obvious…
This isn’t easy.
(Editor’s note – I eventually had to sit down to write this.)
The song is a beautiful one. It tells of the fictional Superman and the fact that, even for Superman, life isn’t easy. The lyric from the song that most resonates with me contains the simple words…
“It’s not easy…to be…me.”
I sometimes try to think of myself as Superman, not in the sense that I think I can fly or stop a bullet in my hands. I can’t do those things (of course). I also can’t leap tall buildings and I’m not faster than a locomotive.
I can’t run fast. Heck, right now I can’t even run.
But, still, I do like to think that I can do anything. I can be like Superman. I can try to be great. I’m going to run the 2020 New York City Marathon. I can and I will.
(Remember, anyone who says “You Can’t” is lying.)
I believe I can do anything and I like to think, in that way at least, that I am like Superman.
We can all be Superman.
In a perfect world, we should all aspire to be Superman.
In that perfect world, we all want to be the best people we can possibly be in every way. We seek to be kinder, more empathetic, more helpful, more caring. We work to be more thoughtful and more compassionate. We strive to find the best in ourselves at home, at work, and in the community.
And, hopefully, we see this in others as well – a desire to be one’s best.
I’ll go so as to say that having the attributes listed above in vast quantities would make a person, any person, more powerful than the fictional Superman. Those very real characteristics (empathy, caring, thoughtfulness, love…) matter more (much more) than any imaginary super power.
But, still, it’s not easy.
It’s not easy to try to achieve excellence in all we do.
It’s not easy to know that we fail more than we succeed…that we, in fact, fail a lot more than we succeed.
It’s not easy to know that we fail exponentially more than we succeed.
When I hear those lyrics, “It’s not easy…to be…me,” they really do resonate inside.
It is not easy to be me.
It can be darn hard.
But you know what?
It’s not easy to be you.
It’s just not easy.
No one ever said life would be easy.
Once we realize and accept that it isn’t easy, and isn’t meant to be easy, we can come to recognize, appreciate, and seek to remedy our flaws.
Once we realize that it’s not easy to be who each of us are, we can also come to appreciate that it also isn’t easy to be the people we work with, the people we live with, and the people we encounter in life.
It’s not easy to be the person who collects the garbage.
It’s not easy to be the accountant.
It’s not easy to be the counter help. Or the waitress. Or the airline pilot. Or the mechanic. It’s not easy to be an artist or an athlete or an engineer. It’s not easy to drive a train or a bus or a truck or a car for a living, or otherwise. It’s not easy to build roads or lay track or clean windows.
It’s not easy to teach. It’s not easy to lead.
It’s not easy to write.
It’s not easy to read.
None of it is easy.
It’s especially not easy if we strive to be the best, or our best at least, in all we do.
It’s just not easy.
It’s not easy
But, there’s a bigger point.
A much more important point.
A vastly more important point.
You know that kid struggling in math? It’s not easy for him.
You know that child that doesn’t write well? It’s not easy for her.
You know those children who are being evaluated for special education? It’s not easy for them.
And the students struggling to stay quiet or keep their hands to themselves, or refraining from crying or screaming… it’s just not easy for any of those children.
It’s just not.
But there’s more.
And it’s essential to know and remember this – always. Because this is the part that we often forget…
You know that student who always gets everything correct?
And the one who always does all the homework?
And the kid who is always reading?
And the star athlete?
And the one with the big beautiful eyes?
And the one always dressed so well?
The popular kid… the most “put together” kid, that smart kid and the funny kid…
All of them.
It’s not easy for any of them.
It’s just not.
We can understand that the struggling kid struggles. We know it’s not easy for that kid. But we probably most often forget that it’s also not easy for students who seemingly have it all.
It’s just not.
It’s not easy for anyone.
Just because it isn’t easy, doesn’t mean we don’t try.
As we struggle, we need to know that others, everyone else, all of us, are struggling in our own ways.
Everyone struggles. It’s not easy for anyone.
Knowing this and appreciating this makes us more understanding, more compassionate, more loving, more empathetic…
And more everything.
Knowing this, recognizing this, and living this, in fact, makes us all, fact, a type of Superman.
Having empathy might be the world’s greatest super power.
It’s not easy, but it’s essential.