Life just keeps on happening all around us, inescapable until it isn’t. Our jobs, for others and for ourselves, is to focus on first figuring out what we can control, and second, to put our attention on what’s left that actually matters. I’ve been thinking about this parable Neil Gaiman tells in American Gods,
There was a tale he had read once, long ago, as a small boy: the story of a traveler who had slipped down a cliff, with man-eating tigers above him and a lethal fall below him, who managed to stop his fall halfway down the side of the cliff, holding on for dear life. There was a clump of strawberries beside him, and certain death above him and below. What should he do? went the question.
And the reply was, Eat the strawberries.
The story had never made sense to him as a boy. It did now.
That’s it. The whole nut wrapped in its hard, protective shell. Professionally, point out the strawberries. Personally, don’t overlook the simple pleasure of eating them. Our focus goes on what we can control so long as it also matters. The rest is the rest. Eat the strawberries.