The good news is that the universe is not conspiring against us. Neither do we have a natural talent for picking losers.
No, we are just participants in the brilliant, fascinating, never-ending rat race called life.
It doesn’t always feel like a race, though. Not when you’re stuck in traffic.
Talking about traffic: driving to work, do you also naturally end up in the bumper-bashing lane?
What are the odds of picking the slow lane five days on the trot? Is it bad luck? Is it bad karma?
Or is it just an illusion? Are all the lanes not moving equally slowly?
Buying fast food, why is it always the person in front of you at the drive-thru who orders 47 upsized meals, never the one behind you? And why is the woman behind you inevitably the one who’s just had her hooter fixed, and it’s working overtime.
Rat race? Feels more like a snail race to me.
My personal favourite is the cashier who shoves a sorry-this-till-is-closed sign down my throat the moment I attempt to pay for my groceries. As if queuing is one of my favourite pastimes.
But it’s not just the frenetically slow pace of life that gets to me.
Why is it that of all the light bulbs on the shelf, I somehow manage to pick the one that won’t last thousands of hours. No, the one I pick very often lasts only a day. It radiates like a house on fire and then, poof, darkness. Three minutes after the shops close.
So, replacing light bulbs is a permanent item on tomorrow’s to-do list.
The reality is that we all face the most challenging aspects of life every day. While we cannot control the traffic or the cashier or the hooter-maniac or the life-expectancy of a light bulb, we can control our reaction to these challenges.
We can choose to sing along to the radio, or we can choose to demonstrate to our fellow motorists our limited ability at speaking sign-language.
We can ask the store attendant to give us a replacement light bulb without explaining which part of his anatomy could benefit from some extra light.
Fact is, you’re not going to win the rat race, so at least play nice.