Tick tock

The time ticking down can play havoc with our priorities. As the second half transgresses and the final moments beckon a rush to score the vital goal ensues. When we are on a side that is 7-0 down, we can give up or push on. Ending at 7-1 makes no real difference to the leader boards but it gives those that are watching something to take from it and your fellow players some respect. Just getting one goal against a formidable team can be a real achievement.

The end of the game can come quicker than expected for some. For others it is not soon enough. Days drag slowly. They find themselves withering by the wayside with dreary repetitive routines. Sometimes the mind is willing, but the body isn’t, and the only challenges are the daily grind of dealing with an ever-growing list of ailments. You can only chuckle at the wisdom of the quote “Don’t get old”. You can hope that you may be one of the lucky ones that reach a ripe old age in good shape. Satisfying yourself with simple pleasures right up to the end, with a swift departure during a peaceful last night.

We will often find little alternative to making the most of what we can do in our current position but are always able to fight on until the bitter end. As we age our health can deteriorate but the worries and cares we once had usually dissipate. We may choose to focus more on what we think really matters such as our friends and family.

There is some debate about the length of a life versus how good a life is. Plenty are seen doing their upmost to stay as healthy as possible hoping to maximise their longevity. Is a life a bit misdirected if it is so consumed by self-preservation? Is the winner the one who lasts the longest? However, where one is maintaining the best body another is building the best house in the street. We have our own aims, so why mock those with different ones.

There is a balance to be found between fitting in and going your own way. We can refuse to conform and play our own game, up to a point. That can be in the game of life as a whole or within the sub-games of courtship, child rearing and work to name but a few. If you have ever sat with many others in a large auditorium listening to a great motivational speech, did you stop to consider the trade-offs with what they are espousing. It may have provided the inspiration that you needed, or it might be a way of manipulating you. Are they helping or are they getting you to do what they think is best? They may be proud of their 100-hour working week, but disregard how unsustainable that can be.

Most of us will be spectators. It is numerically impossible to be any other way. A thousand in the stands for each one on the pitch. As a supporter we make an invaluable contribution by adding to the atmosphere in the football stadium or providing vital support to businesses and the community. All contributions count as every one of us has an impact even if just an ethereal interference. We do not have to do outstanding things to feel successful in life.

We may be successful at something then be faced with a dilemma; do we rest on our laurels or quit and start some other game? Having mastered something, we might be inclined to find a new challenge. We have shown our mettle in one arena but may not make the same mark in another. How do we measure our success anyway? Is it measured in how famous we become? Or how wealthy? Or how happy or contented we feel. Do we have to achieve something exceptional? We might want to question our motives sometimes. Notoriety in particular is not a panacea. The job of running the highest office in the land may be enviable, but it is also restrictive. There is a trade-off between privileges and responsibility with freedom to do what you want anonymously at any time and on any date.

There will be many outside influences vying to get you to use the same scoring mechanism as them. Some measure progression by knowledge gained. Others value the creation of a family or position in a society. Many count the amount of material possessions gathered. If you walk around a graveyard do you inspect the ornateness and size of the headstone or respect the age attained. Do you investigate the amount left in the will? Alternatively, do you sit and count the number of visitors to a plot and remark upon the freshness and quality of the flowers abandoned there.

Thankfully for those remaining, few people will rip up the pitch and knock down the goal posts when they retire from the sport. In fact, there seems to be a desire to ensure that the club is left in a better state than when they joined. Many may even bequeath a little for the enjoyment of future players and spectators. They want their club to march forwards and hope that it will continue to succeed when they are no longer around. Such acts of generosity make them feel good about themselves and we can be grateful for it.

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