The Top Rivals

All of us here understand what rival means. There is no need to look into the meaning anymore since we almost share several mutual feelings. Instead, what I want to talk about here is only the pure existence of rivals in our lives. This often becomes one of the most essential motivations, which pushes each of us forward in an incredible way. However, whether the effect left on us is good or bad, depends on our choices.

From what I believe, rival often changes through time, and it’s hardly constant. If every one of us has one – and only one – top rival in our life, just like Naruto and Sasuke, in the popular manga by Masashi Kishimoto sensei, then this world may be an ideal place for humanity. The reason is simple: it would be more than perfect if there is something that could keep us staying focused on the only goal set up in our mind. We just need to strike forward, without any significant turns, in order to equal or surpass, and more importantly, be acknowledged by our true rival.

I love Naruto the most when it comes to stories in mangas. However, the love of mine here is pure and ideal: I know the real world out there can never be like that, and in fact harsher, so I choose to treasure as much as possible the legacy which Naruto left inside my heart. I learned much from the story, and use it as a sort of powerful motivation to fight for life. And at the same time, I do not expect to find only one Sasuke in my own life, but instead, from time to time, at each moment of change, Sasuke may appear somehow in any person I could meet and choose to compete with.

That’s how it has always happened. The first top rival in my life was both a Math rival and a love rival in the secondary school. So in the first place, I had to fight for the two most important things later in my life. I have never forgotten the feelings back then, when I felt frustrated in myself, in the distance between us, and also the distance getting farther between me and the girl I used to crush. It’s simple if you just say that “fight for love”. Here in my case, I chose something unexpected: fight for the sake of complete loss. That means, you choose to compete as best as you could because you know that you already lost. And truth be told, that’s how I won later, but not in the one of love. However, the love was gone, and I learned to accept the truth: I have grown up for the first time ever. Since then, he has been one of my best friends until now. The only change is that: I became a true Math student, and he chose a different way to go on.

When I got into high school, the rival thing is purer: only Math is the real war. Talented students were anywhere to be seen, yet I did not need much time to figure out who was Sasuke. Once I set up a goal, naturally, after we all became good friends, I knew that the struggle began. Each year in the life of a high school boy, I had to fight a different war, with many kinds of excitement and frustration. Each top rival for each period, appeared as a given that time as if a natural plan was set out for me to execute every year. I had never been engaged in that much passion and fever before, so Math, as a result, became my love more than ever. You see here, love and rival had started to intertwine with each other, right? And at the end of high school life, I both won and lost a glorious battle, after I surpassed, somehow, all of the top Math rivals in my range. Something funny, yet not so unexpected, appeared again: I was the only boy to continue pursuing Math as major afterward.

Since then until the present, as a final undergraduate, do you know what happened with the rivalry in my life as a university student? I have been acknowledged by the class, become good friends with everyone, and the fight changes gradually. There were still some best students around, but the thing here was different than any time before: we all chose Mathematics as our way of life, at least for now, and everyone has surpassed any necessary struggle to get here. Therefore as a given, I do not fight solely for being acknowledged by the others anymore. More importantly, I also struggle for myself, and for my true love in Math, and in the major subject which I have chosen now. If I cannot get better than myself day by day, then it will be meaningless to be observed by any other rival. So you see now, I am also my true rival. And to be selfish, nothing is more crucial than ourselves, right? The top rival of mine at the moment is me. 

Love and Math seem to have become one.

Well, it’s exactly “seem”, yet not totally, because here Love is mapped to Math by a pure inclusion. So now, there is one last thing that I wish to mention here: Love in Math is fine, but when Math is in love, what may happen?

What I mean is, when you find your honest love in a Math one like you, what will you do? I have never experienced this feeling before, so now I am a bit confused, nishishi. Naturally, that one may become your rival somehow, in order for you to get close to. Starting from friends, then can anything closer happen after? Just like in the past rivalry, I also have to fight a war, but this one is essentially different now.

I have grown up enough to love, for doing Mathematics.

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