1 Life's Not Fair! | Traveling Light Blog by Travel Writer Colleen Friesen

Life’s Not Fair!


Fair in Amsterdam

Life’s Not Fair!


“That’s just not fair!” I actually heard someone say this. This particular someone was an adult. Perhaps even older than me…They said it like they meant it.

I wanted to tap them on the shoulder and say, “Hell-O?! You’re quite right, so why are you being so surprised and indignant as if this is a new realization?”

Life IS not fair.

If one is looking for fair, Life would be the wrong place to be looking for it.

This does not mean that we should not strive for equality, justice and fairness in all our dealings with each other. But it does mean that when my tire goes flat, it rains on my parade or other seeming ‘unfairnesses’ occur, my one and only response should be, “Yes.” And then. “Thank you.”

Saying yes to whatever is happening lets my mind/body know that THIS is the current state of affairs. It helps me accept what is in front of me rather than railing against it. This, thisness in front of me, IS.

By saying yes, I then have an opportunity to choose my action.

Notice I didn’t say choose my reaction. Because I think my usual reaction is something akin to a freaked-out two-year old. But if I accept the reality of my circumstances by saying a silent thank you, and IF I don’t default to my tantrum-ridden anxiety-mishapen hard-wiring, I have the grace, those few extra moments, to choose how I want to act.

The thank you is also my chance to try to be grateful for what is likely to be (yet another!?) sorely-needed lesson in patience.

This, my friends, is akin to mastery on an epic level.

Don’t I sound perfect? Kind of Zen-like as I grace all in my presence with my Yeses and  Thank Yous, not to mention my innate wisdom whilst being all-Buddha-like in my acceptance?

English: Head of the Buddha from Hadda, Centra...


Unfortunately, there are witnesses to some of my alternative behaviour that might provide a counter view.


I’m getting better at it. Getting better at paying attention at the opportunities between The Situation and My Actions.

Almost like a grown-up. Almost like I understand that…

Life is not fair. 





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8 Responses
  1. Sharry says:

    A friend posted on Facebook that she’d overheard this in a conversation: “You can do two things in life: talk yourself into it or talk yourself out of it.” I don’t know why, but this blog post reminded me of that FB post. Seems like it’s all about choosing how you see situations and then choosing your reactions to them. I’m learning.

  2. Colleen Friesen says:

    “You can do two things in life: talk yourself into it or talk yourself out of it.” Sharry, I like that. I think it’s the same thing. It’s all about deciding to own what’s happening and then deal with it. It’s sure a long learning process, eh?

  3. Elinor says:

    I like the “I choose my action”, not reaction, because I, like you, often react from a much younger me than the ‘mature’ current age 53. :-)

  4. Jana Botkin says:

    Once I asked a friend a question, meant to be rhetorical, “Who said that life has to be fair?”

    She answered, “Ummm, I dunno, Benjamin Franklin?”


  5. Colleen Friesen says:

    Jana, I think the best stuff happens when people answer rhetorical questions.
    Just for fun, I looked up quotes on fairness by Benjamin Franklin. It’s a really odd aquote that goes like this;
    “You cannot pluck roses without fear of thorns, Nor enjoy a fair wife without danger of horns.”
    Not sure what Bennie was thinking with that one :)

  6. Colleen Friesen says:

    Elinor. Nice to have company in the kiddo department. It’s rather sad, but true, that if I only worked with my reactions, I would complicate my life an inordinate amount! The little pause between has saved me more than once.

  7. Laurie McConnell says:

    What if it were ‘fair’? Chances are we would rail against that, too. I’m so glad I took the time when my kids were little to let them throw themselves to the mall floor, writhing and crying, until they finally sat up exhausted and ready to DEAL. Holding up the white card with the 7 out of 10 points judgement was a bit over the top, I grant you, as was saying, “The Russian judge says NYET, no originality,” but they seem to have survived it nicely.

    My point is, that once we are Old Enough To Know Better, all the fun is gone out of tantrums and attempts to befriend wisdom (you’re my friend, right?) are so much more satisfying.

  8. Colleen Friesen says:

    Nyet, Nyet! Love it Laurie. I’m going to guess that your 7 out of 10 points and Russian judge comments helped them see the ridiculousness of it all. I bet when your girls are 50, they’ll still hear your voice when they’re having their inner tantrum :)
    I am dearly hoping that one day Miz Wisdom will be my Best Friend Forever…

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