Thursday, October 21, 2021

Between A Rock And A Hard Place (MY Eng #29)

This is part of a running series about English idioms - less about language, more about life itself. Previously, we covered 'missing the woods for the trees', 'the elephant in the room', 'practising what you preach', blowing hot and cold', 'no smoke without fire', 'one swallow does not make a summer', 'apples and oranges', 'cut to the chase', 'leave no stone unturned', 'that's the way the cookie crumbles', 'can't have your cake and eat it too', 'old is gold', 'putting the cart before the horse', 'mountain out of a molehill', 'pot calling the kettle black', 'bite the bullet', 'go the extra mile', 'silence is golden', 'the devil is in the details', 'sink or swim', 'once bitten twice shy', 'don't count your chickens before they hatch', 'don't put all your eggs into one basket', 'chicken and egg', 'walking on eggshells', 'flogging a dead horse', 'better late than never' and 'storm in a teacup'.

Life is complicated. There's no short of drama. The worst kind of problem are the ones that have two options open, neither of which is the perfect solution.

Take Option A, and you'll close the main door but leave the backdoor open. And vice versa.

Yes, there are no easy solutions in life. Do something and risk making matters worse. Do nothing and you're also screwed. Life can be really cruel.

* * *

No one fancies winding up in such a tough spot. But that's just how life goes. We can't avoid being trapped between a rock and a hard place.

Let's start with school, since that's where all of us have gone through before. Should we focus on studies and churning out good grades? Or should we spread our time and energy over extra-curricular activities to pick up on practical skills? Yes, your teachers, seniors and wise gurus will all say that same old word: balance.

Easier said than done. There is only 24 hours in a day. And the same people will preach on how it's important to get enough sleep and rest. Minus time for meals, household chores, and relaxation. And it's healthy to have hobbies too. Ultimately, something's got to give. Limited time calls for sacrifices.

Work is worse. Especially when you're at the bottom of the food chain. There's your line manager, and an array of other middle managers. Sometimes, you may be bugged by some nosy senior from some other department. And your big boss is just too busy with their own deadlines and appointments to keep track of every minion's workload and schedule.

This is the key reason for burnout. Excessive stress. Mental health damage. In this digital era, work flows even quicker than before. Your mobile phone keeps pinging from urgent notifications 24/7. One senior is an early riser and starts working at 6am. Another senior had been chasing you until 2am. Despite what everyone says about getting enough rest, their very actions prevent you from practising what they're preaching.

* * *

So which do we choose? The rock? Or the hard place?

Sometimes, we choose wisely. Other times, we choose wrongly. The point is not to get too worked out over making wrong choices or being forced into making choices against our will.

Life is full of difficult choices. Instead of dreading this aspect of life, embrace it fully. The more choices we make, the better we get in choosing.

Doesn't matter whether we land on a rock or a hard place. Just do the best that you can, with what you have, where you are.

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