I came to the conclusion today that everything we want in life is either a rabbit or a horse. This epiphany struck me whilst I was chatting with a friend about how she wanted things in her life to go in one direction, yet they seemed to be doing quite the opposite. What I found most intriguing was her use of the word “should”.
I’ve noticed this a lot, recently; it seems to be a sort of trend. I realise now, that I go through phases of “should”. For some reason, it’s ever so difficult to realise that when it comes to us as individuals and how we feel, and therefore, what we do, there is no “should”. It simply does not exist. You are who you are.
Which is actually a lot more difficult to wrap your head around than it first seems.
The classic case is generally when talking about relationships and what we “should” be doing at a certain age, or what we “should” be feeling. I made the point to my friend that we have the saying “good things come to those who wait” for a reason. She then asked what the point was in having the saying “seek and thou shall find”. Touché.
And this is when the rabbits and horses hit me.
I realised that you need to know the difference between a rabbit and a horse. Laugh as you may, but it’s not as easy as you may think. Life’s rabbits are shy timid creatures whose trust you need to earn. You need patience, time and a lot of carrots. Emotions, I tend to find, belong more to this category. You need to leave time for things to settle down, get used to their new, somewhat scary and unfamiliar surroundings before approaching them. Some rabbits find it easier to settle down and adapt than others. But perhaps most importantly, you can’t force it. Think of the saying “you can take a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink”.
Which leads me quite nicely onto the horses in life. These are no ordinary horses. These ones are wild and need to be tamed. With life’s horses, you first need to find them, and then have enough strength to win the battle of wills that follows. Oh, and you might need a supply of sugar cubes. Eventually you will end up with a loyal steed to accompany you through life – and you’ll be able to jump nicely over hedges.
The trouble is working out when life’s given you a rabbit, or a horse. I suppose the most frustrating thing is the time a rabbit can take to be coaxed out of its warren. Sometimes, all you want is that relationship that everybody else seems to have; that feeling of being loved by somebody else; or simply the knowledge that that person has decided to be there for you regardless – even when you’re not wearing any make-up, feel like the world is out to get you with a sharp pointy stick and you’re having the crappiest hair day ever:
The worst thing about it is that you’re impatient: you don’t want to wait however many years it’s going to take, you want it NOW. Yet, in trying to reach that stage of comfort, affection and security, you’ve startled the rabbit so much that he’s retreated even further into his warren; to the point where sometimes you think he’s disappeared altogether.
Yet with horses life can seem like a constant struggle, and if you’re someone who’s easily discouraged, horses are the last thing that you need. They can be opinionated and haughty; yet at the same time graceful and somewhat imposing.
So the next time you’re faced with a situation where you’re not sure what to do, ask yourself: Rabbit or horse?