Swings, Roundabouts and Those Competitive Comparisons

“Don’t waste your time on jealousy, sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind… the race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.” (Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen, 1997, Baz Luhrmann)

MANY times, I have counselled people in the phenomenon of the level playing field that life invariably is, generally. Some get off to a flying start in their twenties, succeeding at everything they do, whilst others seem to fall very far behind the eight ball. Some of us ride the swings, others of us ride the roundabouts.

Then a peculiar thing happens, over the decade and the next, in our 30s and 40s. Life levels us all out, provided there’s comparative effort. We swap the swing for the roundabout, and vice versa.

Those who got off to a flying start like the hare, getting degrees, marrying, having children, succeeding in their endeavours, and possibly avoiding loss that would have held them back, face hardship at some point. Complacency cost the hare.

Those who, like the tortoise, took some time to get out of the blocks, who suffered loss and rejection, somehow steel themselves, having floundered and recovered. Paradoxically, they become equipped to handle what their compatriot is about to suffer. But the character traits learned in grief are not transferrable. Tenacity motivates the tortoise.

Success is a fickle business in life. Subtle nuances generate significant effects.

As the Sunscreen Song suggests, sometimes we’re ahead, sometimes we’re behind… remember the race is long… ultimately it really is only with ourselves.

Yet, maddeningly, we’re ever jockeying for position in this oft narcissistic world.

Wisdom suggests that we don’t get too cocky when we’re ahead nor too despondent when we’re behind. Fortunes vacillate, and they change, and we only have so much control over them.

If you’re behind the eight-ball in any key area of your life, keep working hard. Don’t grow weary but keep doing good, because you will reap a harvest of blessing if you don’t give up.**

**From Galatians 6:9.

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