“That’s Not Fair!”

When I was small, I had a super-sized sense of fairness. Maybe because I was the youngest child, maybe because I was very shy and not very pretty. I remember many times when I informed the world at large, “That’s not fair!”

Having heard John Kennedy say “Life isn’t fair, but government should be,” in the early 1960s, my mother grasped onto the first half of the sentence. When I railed about some injustice, and squealed, “Life isn’t fair!” Her standard reply was “Life isn’t fair,” or, if she was in a slightly better mood, “Who said life had to be fair?”

I was writing in my journal yesterday morning, recounting something that is grinding away at me, when I wrote, “This just isn’t fair.”

And completely out of the blue, without knowing what I was going to write next, I wrote, “Life’s not fair, but YOU can be.” I have no idea where it came from, but it made a huge amount of sense the instant I wrote it.

I can be fair. I can let the person who saw the parking space first have it, even if I got there first. I can acknowledge great ideas, even if they aren’t mine. I can let the person with a few items step ahead of me in the grocery line. I can be fair even if life isn’t. I can change the fairness aura around me. I can make my space, my house, my car fair. Even if the rest of the world isn’t, I can make my small corner of it fair. What a concept! Maybe, just maybe, it can spread.

-Quinn McDonald is a writer, life– and creativity coach. She helps people adjust to change in an unfair world.