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©2020 BY R. K. MAYER

  • R. K. Mayer

The Hamster Wheel You Want to Ride on the Change Curve of Life


It is almost summer and there is an air of expectation. The collective hope is that in the next few months the days will wind up or wind down, depending on whether one is hoping to reduce activity and relax, or reduce one kind of activity and replace it with another. This vibe of waiting and expectation can be frustrating, and yes — anti-climactic —to a great degree. It reminds me of the anticipation of waiting for something specific to take place: like to hear whether you are going to get that job, or whether the results of some test is what you had hoped. The waiting can be nerve wracking, and then when the results come —whether they are below or beyond your expectations — there is invariably a feeling of: what now? What did I do that for? Now I have to start from the very beginning and:

—learn for the next test

—scale the next obstacle

—compete for the next project

—live up to expectations

It kind of makes you feel like a hamster in a wheel, doesn't it?

But, the upside is, that while our lives are somewhat cyclical: peppered with peaks and valleys, challenges and growth, expectation, climax and the inevitable anti-climax: once you have accepted the nature of life on the change curve, there are some wonderful moments along the way. Unlike the hamster on the wheel — our scenery can change if we will it. Our circumstances will change if we work on them. Our lives invariably mix and mingle with the lives of others, bringing with them unexpected waves of newness and nostalgia, freshness and the sparks of memory.

Take for instance my entry into summer — I will be going away for a few days to a beautiful lake a few hours from where I live. Along with the joy that brings me, I am already imagining the work I will need to make up, the arrangements that I still have to shift around, the time I will need to make up for the getaway. Anticipation and the whiff of anti-climax. However, just imagine my surprise to discover that a school friend and former college roommate of mine will be staying, by chance, just 10 minutes away. We live in different countries. We have different professions, our social circles have shifted, I have never met her children, and I don't think that she has ever met mine. Yet, here we are unexpectedly reuniting after about a decade of separation. The thrill of the unexpected reunion completely neutralizes any distraction that I have concerning the day I get back...

This unexpected gift is a reminder that summer is more than just a season that begins and ends at set intervals. It is more like an attitude that if you adopt, you realise that anything can happen to break the routine at any time. New triggers abound and injections of energy are inevitable. These incidents give us a sense that life is more than just perennial happenstance: a predictable voyage. They are reminders that anything can happen. Now that's a hamster wheel that I would like to ride.

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