There is a small park in front of the hostel that I'm staying in right now in Lisbon. I was killing time yesterday, waiting for it to be time to formally check in when......
Two boys, most probably brothers aged around 4 and 6 were playing football. Both were running for the football and in order to get to the ball first the older one pushed the younger one away, all the while both were running towards the ball. The younger and smaller boy fell, got hurt and started crying. The bigger one got the ball.
The younger boy stayed on the ground, he had fell face first, but got his hands down first to break his fall. I felt really really bad for that small boy, I wanted to go pick him up, ask him to stop crying, to tell him that in life a thousand times more people will push you to get some metaphorical football first and you will fall on your face and be hurt. But be strong, don't cry. You have to man up, the world is a shitty place. You have to get up again and push that boy back. I was angry at his older brother, thinking how could he push his little brother like that, I was angry at the world for being unfair where big kids push little kids, I was angry at all the people who ever pushed me, literally and figuratively.
But there was another voice in my head, that is still to console that young boy, but to tell him that it is ok to cry. Bad things will happen in life and it is ok to cry sometimes, you don't have to be strong everytime, sometimes the football is not worth it. I wanted that boy to be protected from the world and never play football with bigger kids ever again.
I pondered on both these choices for a second or two. I didn't rush to pick up that kid, I didn't know them and I didn't know if my talking to those kids will be ok or not. And I got my answer to the choices a second later.
The bigger kid after seeing his younger brother crying ran back with the football, picked him up, dusted him off and gave him the football. The little kid still angry threw the ball away, his older brother got it back to him. And I realized the answer. You will fall down many a times while playing football, you'll get hurt and cry. That will happen, and that is ok. That's why you have your loved ones, your older brother, your parents, your sisters, your friends, your spouse, to pick you up and dust you off so that you can play ball again.
So be out there, run for the football and if you get pushed and you fall, cry for a while, let your loved ones dust you off so that you can continue running for the ball. Don't be that guy who always ran for the ball and didn't care who he pushed and don't be that guy who's afraid of playing with the big kids, the best path is somewhere in the middle.
When I started walking back towards the hostel as it was 1, I saw those two kids playing football and laughing again. The world was a alright place again