Last week I played the classic board game, ‘The Game of Life’ with my young children and since then I’ve had the 1980s advert stuck in my head…
“Be a winner at the game of life”
Much to my children’s dismay, that night I was a winner at The Game of Life (after all, it doesn’t do them any good to let them win does it…??). And, as ever these days, it has prompted me to reflect on what it means to be a winner in this game that we are all doing our best to play successfully.
By any objective measure I’d say I’m doing pretty well. I have a lovely new home, a job that I love, loving and supportive friends and family, and two beautiful, funny, bright and loving children that remind me how blessed I am every day.
But no matter how blessed we may be we all have to face life’s storms when how we feel on the inside doesn’t reflect the realities of our lives on the outside. Like everybody that’s reading this (Yes! I have readers!) I’ve experienced dark clouds in my life, most notably in the form of two deep spells of almost crippling depression within the last 10 years. And of course, the reason I’m here typing at all is because I have lost two very special people to me in the course of the last year. And as I reflect I know that I must take responsibility for where I have fallen short and what I have lost as a result.
And that hurts. A lot.
But I still know that I am blessed and I have a great deal to be thankful for. In addition to everything that I listed earlier, in this blog I now have an outlet to help me to learn the lessons that I need to learn. And this is giving me the opportunity to connect with others. Nothing is more important to me than the relationships I have with others and through them I can see myself and the situations that I find myself in more objectively, helping me to change and become a better me where possible and teaching me to accept where I fall short of who I would like to be, and to accept that like all of us, I’m doing the best with the hand that I’ve been dealt.
And it’s a good hand. It really is.
So what does it take to be a winner in the Game Of Life? Sometimes winning will come with plaudits, with recognition for a job well done. Other times it will come simply by placing one foot in front of the other, walking through the rain knowing – even when not always believing – that brighter days are ahead.
Life’s not fair. Dealing with life as it is, rather than how it ‘should’ be or how we would like it to be, helps us to accept life’s unfairness and to play our hand as skilfully as we can. We’ll fall short, we’ll fuck up, but whenever we do we have an opportunity to learn and to become a better person. In fact, they’re usually the best opportunities that we get. And if we can learn those lessons well then we will always be a winner in the end.
Soundtrack: Still Life – Suede