Walk in Someone’s Footsteps

footsteps-in-sandWhen I was a kid, I used to play a game at the beach with my siblings and cousins. We called it, “Walk in My footsteps.”

The rules were simple. One kid took the lead and the rest had to step in footsteps of the person ahead as we walked down the beach.

As the youngest, I was usually at the back of the group and often had to stretch to reach the footsteps of the person in front of me.

I almost always lost when we played this game, but was that so bad?

Each of us has our own journey through life.  There will always be people walking ahead of us on this journey and there will always be people walking behind us.

As I see it, our job is to learn from the person ahead of us and, if asked, give a helping hand to the person behind us, but not to walk in someone’s footsteps.

Now, I can write this, but I don’t always live it. I confess this is a challenging life lesson for me. Recently, I read a book that made me ache with longing to write as well as the author did.

I can’t. I’m not that author. I’m me.  I can learn from the author, but I’ll never write the same way.

Bottom line:  I will always lose when I play the game of “Walk in My Footsteps.” I have to follow my own path, learn at my own pace, and in my own way.

But is that really so bad?

What about you?

Have there been times when you wanted to be in the footsteps of the person ahead of you? How did you handle it and what did you learn from the experience?

14 comments on “Walk in Someone’s Footsteps

  1. desk49 says:

    If I walk behind
    Ahead I cannot see
    If I walk ahead
    The past is blocked to me

    Beside I learned to walk
    Tho not always the same
    I’ve yet to learn
    Now to play this game

    As a youth no footsteps
    In the sand I did find
    No games did we play
    We just towed the line

  2. Lynn says:

    It has taken a long time to accept myself just the way I am. (I would like to be thinner and more fit though.) 🙂 But there are certainly people I would like to emulate – people who are so good; more spiritual perhaps. But in the end – it’s OK to be just who we are, I think.

  3. Kelvin Kao says:

    Even if you follow their footprints exactly, you are still going to end up making different footprints because your feet are different. (And if it makes you stumble, it would be waaaayyy different. 😉 )

    And the next person would be following YOUR footsteps, because you already kinda destroyed the last person’s footprints in the process. Mwahaha.

    • Sara says:

      @ Kelvin — Good point. It’s just an illusion that we could ever emulate someone else, but I confess there are times I’ve wanted to:~)

  4. Carrie says:

    I never walk in anyone’s footprints, never have – I always have too many beautiful things distracting me, so much wandering and even a wee sit down to enjoy the journey. It’s my walk, I may wish to be on the same path as someone else but then I wouldn’t be living my story. xx

  5. janice says:

    I love to walk alongside people and connect with them, right here, right now – that’s my favourite way of sharing journeys; sometimes we slow down to keep pace when they’re struggling or have to bound along to keep up with them when they’re bouncing with excitement; sometimes people sit down patiently and wait for us and sometimes it’s heartbreaking to realise that a fork in a road means parting company, just as we were enjoying the companionship.

    You’re a wonderful companion, Sara, and get it right with everyone you connect with, on your own blog and in your friends’ blogs; I can only guess you’re like that in your offline life, too. This was a powerful piece of writing, one of your best. I felt your strength, your resilience and authenticity and empathised so much with that ache of longing you described – I have it so often when I read the authors I love and visit the blogs I enjoy. I don’t know who the author was who evoked the longing in you, but if something resonated with you, if that reader/writer/written thing connection was deeply made, then you share more of their gift than you realise. Art pulls our heartstrings to help us piece together the lost mosaics of our own gifts, our own souls.

  6. Linda says:

    Not a game I ever played, probably because I am an only child and had not cousins nearby. Anyway, with a twist on footprints in the sand, I think of footprints in the snow. Since I love a beautiful, unsullied snowscape, When it has just fallen and it’s so clean and untouched, I will retrace my steps, stepping into my own footsteps.

    There is no one whose footsteps I would totally like to follow in, but I would have to say that my Mom comes closest. While I wouldn’t choose every path she took, she is the one I would like to be most like in many ways.

    • Sara says:

      @ Linda — I imagine this game would definitely be more challenging in SNOW…you could almost disappear. That’s nice about your mom:~)

  7. Vesper says:

    What an interesting analogy, Sara. We probably all try to walk in someone else’s steps at some point, but also at some point realize that we have to walk in our own… Learn and teach, and walk hand in hand…

  8. patricia says:

    This last book review made me wish I was writing so well and concisely – a poetic perfection, but you are right it would not be my words or my walk.

    • Sara says:

      @ Patricia — I get it. It must be difficult for you in that you do read so many books and there will always be some that take your breath away. I will say this, I enjoy your book reviews very much. You always a nugget of something to say good about a book and yet, you also stay honest about the books you review.

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