Life isn’t fair. It doesn’t keep score, track, or have any kind of real give-and-take order to it. We lose jobs even when we are good employees, we’re nice but we still get sick, we stub our toes, fall down, and forget to zipper our flies even though we didn’t flip off the person who tailed us all the way to Summer Fest.
It ain’t fair, the life.
Nope. It ain’t.
That’s the bad news.
Here’s the good news: Life isn’t fair.
Thank God, life isn’t fair. Because say it was fair, say we knew the rules: lose your temper and there is no more princess parking for you. Think an evil thought about your neighbor and boom, there goes your job promotion. Forget your Mom’s birthday and you can say ‘goodbye’ to winning the lottery.
What if there was a long list of tradeoffs printed somewhere?
Think how long it would have to be. Super long.
So long that before you did anything you’d have to Google behaviors, read the consequences and then decide if the deed was worth the cost. Pro and con aps would spring up. Ethics classes would be filled at the community college and a whole new bunch of coaches would be born and they would be called the Woulda-Coulda,-Shoulda coaches.
There would be paralysis.
An even worse scenario would be, that life is totally fair and you have to pay back all the wonderful things in your life with equal and opposite not wonderfulness. *Shivers. Moving on.
Instead we have this….
Act = randomness.
Except not really because Karma. But, I don’t think Karma is a simple as-I said, ‘shut-up’ to my child after a long day at the water park and therefore I’m in for a cosmic spanking. I think Karma is a bigger total lives kind of thing, like bigger than meanness in the face of fatigue. I think Karma gives us full passes after a day at the waterpark.
After thinking about fairness and unfairness a lot. After whining about it and calling my friend Linda and complaining about some thing I decided was “Totally Unfair” I heard my mom’s voice (and yes, I used it in my book)….
This is so unfair,” Tig said to her mother’s memory, and she stuffed her phone into purse. As if the voice of her mother lived forever in her ears, she heard her often-repeated lesson about fairness: “No such thing as fair, Tig. Don’t expect fair. Expect unfair and be prepared for possibility. While there is rarely fair, there is always possibility.”
I think what my mom meant is this. Yes, life isn’t fair. We have choices. We get to choose things by being courageous, responsible, loving, and hopeful. Life doesn’t sit on the scale of fairness balancing one way and then the other based on the whim of our choices and thank goodness for that.
We would never take risks, or say ‘no’, ‘yes’, or set boundaries for fear that we were being unfair.
One of my favorite phrases is this: To be liked by everyone is to do nothing, think nothing be nothing.
I think the “everyone” in this quote, the “everyone” we sometimes are trying to please is the universe, the Karmic universe with its naughty-child finger.
So, I think it might be good practice to leave the concept of fairness at the alter. Do not engage it in debate. Instead of acting and hoping for an equal and positive reaction we should act out of love, understanding, desire, kindness, and courage. Sometimes there is courage in asking for what we want. Sometimes that courage is being kind and fair to ourselves, stop looking at the scales and just live.
Baz Luhrmann’s song Everybody’s Free (to Wear Sunscreen) has this fantastic lyric:
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
I guess that’s what I’m trying to say. The whole, great, wise universe isn’t keeping score, how about we all try to just drop the score card too and make good choices, that in case the universe is interested, it would look down and smile.
Just remember, the world is unfair and thank goodness it is. It’s much more interesting that way.