Tuesday, 31 May 2011

You Lose Some, You Win Some

I've forgotten what I was going to talk about today. I had it, and now it is gone - how frustrating! And it's not like one of those things you forget but can remember something that it had to do with, this time it has completely vanished. You could spend hours saying random groupings of words to me, and it still wouldn't trigger the memory of the intended subject. So I'm very sorry - at least I think I am. The trouble with not remembering what I was going to say, is that it might have been really good and really funny - but also it might have been the worst blog I've ever written. So although I am apologising (being a polite chap and all that), at the same time, you could all be thanking me. You probably dodged a bullet here.

But all is not lost, (or, you're not safe yet - depending on your point of view) as I do have other stuff to talk to you about.

Life - as we all know - is hard. The trials and tribulations that each and everyone of us has to go through at various times in our lives makes things tough - of that there can be no doubt. You can think of life as a war - you versus life, fate, whatever you want to call it. It is a long series of battles. However, it is not all big battles - we all have daily struggles, daily battles with whatever life chooses to throw at us. These aren't the big fights that we have to go through in life - like the death of a loved one, or the breakup of a relationship or a family - these are smaller skirmishes which happen to test our resolve, our mettle. I also believe that there is a percentage of these battles that we lose automatically - but also an equal amount of small victories that we win. The size of the battle varies - so much so, that no two are exactly the same in size or importance.

Simpsons Socks
Let me try and explain what I mean: I wear 'Simpsons' days of the week socks. Seven pairs of socks, each with Homer Simpson on them, his expression getting happier and happier as the days get closer to the weekend. I keep these socks rolled up in balls in my sock drawer (where else?), but in their rolled up state I cannot tell which day is which.

No, I haven't memorised the colours. I'm colour blind, and I don't have that long in the morning to get ready.

So, last Thursday, I'm getting dressed and I go to get a pair of socks. My hand hovers over one balled pair for a moment, and then I suddenly decide to pick up another pair. And hey presto! the pair I pick up turn out to be the "Thursday" socks. That is a little victory. It might not sound much, but it is a victory - because although any pair of socks would have done (and picking up the wrong day wouldn't exactly be a disaster), we all secretly would hope that we pick the right socks out for that particular day.

I had another small victory tonight: I had a bunch of underwear to hang out to dry, but couldn't be bothered to get the laundry basket and peg bag. So, I carried the clothing in my arms, and grabbed a handful of pegs out of the peg bag as I walked past. And guess what? I had exactly the right number of pegs for the type and quantity of items I had to hang out. That's another victory - the chances of me randomly picking up the right amount of pegs needed was pretty low, so to do it first go is a win!

Do you see where I'm coming from? Of course there is a flip side. Stubbing your toe - that's a small battle you've lost; going out to dinner in a restaurant and spilling your first mouthful down yourself - another tick in the "lost" column; locking your car keys in the car - a slightly more costly loss, but still not a major setback.

Everyday, the tide swings back and forth. Generally I think people remember their losses more, possibly because their are repercussions to deal with after the initial battle is lost - the painful toe; the soiled shirt or top to wash (or have dry cleaned); having to break into your car (or get someone to get in for you) and then pay for the damage you have caused yourself. But we shouldn't dismiss the tiny victories, because they keep everything in check. Sir Isaac Newton's third law basically says that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction - and although he was talking in the realms of physics, I believe the same applies to the battles we lose. For every stubbed toe, or soiled shirt there is a correctly chosen pair of socks, or an accurately estimated peg count.

But we must be realistic. When we lose a small battle, we must not expect to gain a small victory straight away. In all probability, the small victories we achieve will happen long after the losses we have suffered have been forgotten. It's not an immediate turn around. And I do think it is a one way street: if we lose a small battle one day, at some point in the future, we will gain a small victory to even things out. I do not subscribe to the notion that if we have a small victory, a loss is due.

I wasn't sure where I was going with this idea when I started writing it tonight, but it has turned out quite well I think.

That's another little victory.

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