avatarCarole P. Roman


I Miss the Do-Over

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Sometimes, life feels like I’m caught in an endless game of musical chairs.

I remember the tension of playing when I was a child. The song would begin, and we would circle the line of available seats, giggling and enjoying playtime.

Most of the time, the music was happy, so we ran, touching the backs of the chairs as if to assure us we were safe. We’d be the one quick enough to land a seat. You know that someone else is going to lose that chance, but it won’t be you. You are not going to be a victim. We make eye contact with a friend, our secret smiles showing where we intend to sit when the music halts.

The first few losses don’t make us nervous. We are confident, but soon, the chairs seem to be disappearing.

There is less to go around.

Our stride slows as we consider our opponents like wary vultures, watching each person in the moving line, our ears alert for a hint as to when the music will cease.

We remind ourselves to keep our eye on the game and calculate where we’ll be when the music stops.

Anxiety is our playmate now.

The abrupt end comes along with panic to grab a chair. The fight over the last seat and finally the sniggers as everyone watches you stand there like a dork. Why would anyone think this game is fun?

Are we all living life waiting for the music to stop?

Still, the highs and lows were exciting. There was an endless horizon of hope.

As we get older, it feels like the chairs are disappearing. We worried about having one pulled out from under us.

Opportunities have shrunk, the rules have changed, and friends have become adversaries. Competition and the growing lack of options make life harder.

Sometimes, it feels like the ground is shifting under our feet.

Life was fairer in the past. Then, like a light switch and without warning, things changed.

Remember the do-over? I liked it better when we were allowed to stop, fix the problem, and start the game again.

I think it’s time to bring back the do-over.

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