Rosie Dawson-Hewes: Life is like catching a bus

By Rosie Dawson-Hewes

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There's a lot of waiting involved in bus travel - and it never turns up when you want it to.
There's a lot of waiting involved in bus travel - and it never turns up when you want it to.

Forrest Gump once said life is like a box of chocolates, because you never know what you're going to get. Well, I'm sorry Gump, but that is blatantly untrue.

Even if you get a flavour you don't like, it's still chocolate. And we all know life isn't actually that sweet.

I reckon life is more like catching a bus than a box of chocolates. I know this because I've spent quite a bit of time mulling life over while commuting by bus in the past two weeks. So how is life like catching a bus? Let me count the ways...

You spend a lot of time waiting - the thing you want almost never turns up when you want it to. Even when it is supposed to turn up at a particular time, it won't.

Patience is the key. Sometimes you really can't do anything but just wait it out. And, at times, that really, really sucks. Like when it's pouring with rain and you're freezing cold because it was sunny when you left home that morning and those dark clouds make it seem like the whole world is against you.

But that lashing wind and rain will make you resilient. So suck it up. You'll learn to hunker down and turn your back to it.

You'll be tougher for having waited it out. And you'll be so much more appreciative when you finally see the glowing lights of the bus in the distance.

Or there'll be times when you're late and end up sprinting your wee heart out just to try and catch it. Sometimes you'll make it, sometimes you won't. And if you start the day running you'll inevitably end up feeling like you're running non-stop all day. There are definitely times in life where you feel like you're just running, constantly playing some weird, twisted game of catch-up. But it's okay. Tomorrow is another day and, if you're lucky, it will be one of the few times when the bus actually turns up on time.

Then there are the people who take advantage - like the two big dudes who climb in the back door on a Friday night while the bus drivers are at the front, changing over at the end of their shift. They didn't pay a fare. We all saw them climb in and they knew exactly what they were doing when they did it. But what chance does a 58kg, five foot three woman stand against two dudes twice her size? Not much. That's another life lesson right there - pick your battles. Know when to speak up against life's inequalities and when to just turn the other way and let it go (but maybe write an angry email to the bus company later).

Then there'll be times when you're at the bus stop and a friend or colleague wanders past and kindly offers you a ride. Swallow your pride and accept the offer. Yes, you are independent and capable of making your own way home, and yes, the bus is actually an okay way to travel.

But life is a little easier and more pleasant if you share the ride with a friend, rather than being surrounded by strangers.

The hardest part of catching the bus for me has been being on someone else's timetable. It's inconvenient. I can't leave home or work whenever I want anymore. I'm limited to a half-hourly timetable and, quite frankly, that's a pain in the butt.

But life is also pretty inconvenient and a pain in the butt sometimes. So you just have to suck it up. Because catching the bus has other benefits - it's cheaper and better for the environment and traffic congestion.

It's easy to be selfish and think only of your own convenience at times, but sometimes a salient reminder of the bigger picture is what's required.

After all, none of us really have any control over what happens. We're all on someone else's timetable. So the best solution is simply to sit back, admire the view and do your best to just enjoy the ride.

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