“The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing, in so far as it stands ready against the accidental and the unforeseen, and is not apt to fall.” Marcus Aurelius
Wrestle, wrestle, wrestle. Life is definitely more like a wrestling match. The people who think that it is dancing, that it is something of a frolic, have a misunderstanding. Not that certain kinds of dancing don’t require some struggle (professional ballroom dancing comes to mind), but I am certain that is not the kind of dancing Marcus is talking about. No, indeed life is more like a wrestling match. And that is not bad!
What makes wrestling different than dancing is that in wrestling you have an uncooperative partner. Wrestling is a kind of dance, but your partner is unpredictable. That’s why we call our partner in wrestling an opponent–not our enemy. As we live, life, our opponent in friendly strife–not our enemy, is constantly throwing new moves at us. In turn, we are constantly trying to figure out what Mr. Life will throw at us next. A half-nelson, a full-nelson…possibly some kind of throw? Not only are we trying to keep from getting pinned on our shoulders, but we are also trying to find a way to be victorious. Have you ever wrestled? I have and it is very tiring. Even more tiring than you can imagine. It is the unpredictability of your opponent that makes it so…you must always be on guard. You can never give up. If you do, you will get pinned.
Yet, people wrestle for fun. They wrestle because they love it. Why? Sometimes I really don’t know, but in the end it is because we are born to wrestle. We are born to live! If you wrestle long enough, eventually you will get pinned. Then, you train and train, and wrestle again. You solve problems when you wrestle, and the problems are not static. Once you solve one problem, your opponent changes his tactics…at least if he is a good opponent…and life is an excellent opponent!
Here’s the thing about wrestling. It’s a game. It’s a physically and mentally demanding game, but it’s still a game. It can exhaust you. Your opponent can seem unbreakable. When the match is over, you figure out what you did wrong, and you re-attack the next time, whether you won or lost. In truth, life is not one wrestling match, but a series of wrestling matches. It is a wrestling career. Your opponent is scheming ways to pin you, just for fun, but you strategize to pin him first. Along the way, you need to take care of your mind, body and spirit to be a world-class wrestler. You need to train hard, take care of yourself, and rest once in a while (more than you are, probably).
And so it goes with life…
Oh, sometimes wrestlers dance too. I’ve seen it. (For a sample of a dancing wrestler click here)