Wednesday, 21 March 2012

The hamster wheel of life

Observing the pupils of a local prep school running around the playing field brought back memories of cross country, an inescapable part of the school curriculum and something I have confined to the archives of my mind and rarely revisited, as it did not comprise an aspect of my school career I enjoyed much. 

There they were, following the seemingly endless track around the perimeter of the games fields stretching as far as my eye could see (probably partly due to the fact that I was observing from out of a window with an incomplete vista of the landscape).  Each boy clad in identical uniform games kit, legs propelling them around the course.  There, in front of me, was a teacher holding a clipboard, accompanied by a couple of other members of staff half-heartedly applauding the students as they ran past, and continued running.  I imagined the clipboard was to count down the number of circuits as individuals completed circuits.  A-round and a-round and a-round they went.  Some small, others tall.  None looking particularly athletic, participating I thought for the same reasons I did - compliance rather than choice. 

"Everything is something you decide to do, and there is nothing you have to do."
Denis Waitley

The scene prompted me to think of the many things we are expected to do, and of those things that even as an adult I feel I have little, if any, power to change.  There are, from time to time, things I am obliged to do that do not interest me.  This is part of life in the real world.  There are realities I would rather not acknowledge, things I would escape or avoid if I could.  But do them I must.  Or face the consequences.  Thankfully they are few and far between, but they are still worthy of acknowledgement.  Unless and until I win the lottery (you have to be in it to win it, and I don't purchase tickets, so my chances remain pretty slim regardless of the odds), there are a few practical matters that remain non negotiable. 

Just like those schoolboys simply doing what they do on a certain weekday afternoon, there are aspects to my life over which I have little say - this is how it is.  How I respond to my reality remains a matter of choice.  The attitude with which I approach each moment informs and influences the next moment.  And so it goes on.  This is perhaps the key.  I didn't find it on the running field, but am glad to have discovered this now. 

"Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference." 
Winston Churchill

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