April 24th, 2014
i remember as a year nine student my school dedicated a whole lesson to playing a game called ‘life’. and before you ask, yes it was a real school – and no, it was not as enjoyable as it may sound. but i did learn a lot more in this class than i ever did in maths.
at the beginning of the semester we all pulled a little piece of paper out of a hat with an occupation scribbled on it. it was completely up to chance what career you were gifted with ranging from entrepreneur to stay at home mum. we were then each presented with a salary and each week of the semester we would take part in buying pretend houses and filling them with furniture. we had to budget accordingly to our salary, organise loans and soon discover that having the big screen tv comes at the costly price of starving to death. the decision was completely up to us. (obviously, i chose food).
in about the fifth or sixth week, we once again pulled a little piece of paper out of the hat and this time chance was either on your side, or very obviously not.
it was an event called ‘life’s twist’. some of us won the lottery becoming instant millionaires. some went bankrupt. some had their houses burnt down. while others lost their jobs. from this turning point, we had to adjust our pretend lifestyles to suit whatever situation was thrown our way. and let me tell you, people really did get worked up in this game. it was like a real life monopoly and i was legitimately concerned about some of my classmates seriousness surrounding the game.
i guess it taught me quite early that life wasn’t going to be fair. i may work hard, and do all the right things. budget and sacrifice nice things for electricity and water – but in the end, things are still going to be thrown my way and i needed to find a way to be prepared for that.
recently, ive watched a couple of people in my life go through some hard circumstances. ive watched them cry, offered comfort and delivered copious amounts of ice cream to their doorstep. but at the end of the day, there is only one piece of advice i have to give….
you’ve heard the saying “theres no use in crying over spilt milk” right? well i have come to completely agree! things happen in life. you don’t get to choose what you pull out of the hat, but you do get to choose what you can do with it. when something bad happens, its okay to cry. its okay to curl up and feel miserable. its okay to be upset.
but after a while you have to stop, catch a breath and realise that all the crying in the world is not going to chance the situation. its not going to make what happened go away. if you want to change how you feel or even how things have turned out, then you, and only you, need to do something. wipe the tears away, and ask yourself…what do i do now? set the slate clean, start with what you have and build again. don’t be afraid of the hard work it may entail.
i mean, have you ever watched a kids sandcastle be washed away by a wave? they cry, the shock of it all necessitates a cuddle from mum. but they soon after return back to the washed-away sandcastle and start building again (granted that at the age of 4 there isn’t much brain power to recognise that building another sandcastle in the same place will result in the same outcome – but the principle of the matter is what counts).
have a little determination, and a little strength of heart. let go of what was, make do with what is.
it will get a lot further than tears and ice-cream could have ever dreamed of!