Life’s Unrealized Privileges

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Sunset in Aitutaki

Unrealized Privileges

A couple years ago, I ventured to the small island of Aitutaki in the South Pacific with my fiance.  It was beautiful, but so very primitive.  There was not a lot of commerce and really the only things to do were to cruise around the island by scooter, swim/snorkel in the lagoons, and, well..., sight-see.   It was incredibly peaceful but also a time to reflect about my own, privileged life.  And until I saw the simplicity of life and what I could really do without I hadn’t realized how privileged my life had been.

I never thought about the fact that clean, running water was a privilege, or that air conditioning or a clothing dryer were advantages.  But they were.  So much I have taken for granted in my life, including my ability to freely communicate by landline or even the last fifteen years by cell phone.  No such luck on a remote and primitive island.  I also learned about the coconut wireless, which is, basically, the same thing as island “gossip.”  I guess it’s everywhere…

Every day, we would scooter past several properties with downed coconuts.  One, in particular, had the same coconut on its border that had been pecked through by the wild, roaming island chickens to the sweet coconut meat.  And every morning, the same fat, red hen could be seen with her head buried deep in that same maple-colored coconut.  I laughed as we passed but wondered what kept the chicken coming back, she had to sledge through swamp-like conditions and beat all the other hens.  And yet, she managed.

When the opportunity is sweet enough, when the potential good results outweigh the potential bad ones, perhaps the darkness of a coconut shell will not break or tarnish the tenacity of a chicken on a mission.

It’s called work for a reason.

Work isn’t always easy, nor does it always represent or bring the posh and privileged life.  But it is called work for a reason.  And the result?  The satisfaction?  Knowing you have given your all, knowing you did your best?  Not everyone will agree with that, I know.  Satisfaction comes from knowing you did THE best, not just your best.  The satisfaction comes from knowing success pre-empted failure.  Your mission  – your task – was accomplished.   Maybe not to the fullest extent, but to the best of your own, personal ability.

And isn’t that the best you can do? 

Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But sooner or later the man who wins
Is the man who thinks he can.


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