John Alan Turner

Speaker, Author, Mentor, Coach, Facilitator

Life is Like a Metaphor...Or is it a Simile?

I used to own a t-shirt that said, "Baseball is Life. The rest is just details."

That makes some sense, but you can't flip that around and have it make sense, can you? Baseball may be life for some, but is life baseball?

I mean...sure...you have to get up there and swing for the fences. No one bats 1,000. Sometimes you have to sacrifice in order to get ahead. Every once in a while life throws you a curveball and makes you look silly. And it ain't over 'til it's over.

But...life is much too large to be contained in a single metaphor.

There are so many ideas of what life is or what it's like. What I'm about to write is designed to help us understand just how complicated, intricate, seemingly ununderstandable life can be.

Some think life is like a game of poker. An unseen hand shuffles the deck and deals the cards. You play the hand you've got, and it often matters less how good your cards are and more how well you play them.

Buckminster Fuller suggested life is like a spaceship that didn't come with an instruction manual.

Henry Ford said, "Life is work." Leon de Montenaeken said, "Life is play." Liza Minnelli said, "Life is a cabaret."

Shakespeare said, "Life is but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

George Bernard Shaw disagreed with the bard, saying, "Life is no brief candle to me. It is sort of a splendid torch that I have got hold of for the moment."

Samuel Butler said that life is like being asked to play a violin solo in public and having to learn the instrument while you're doing so.

Thomas Merton said your life is one word in a sentence in a paragraph in a chapter of a book. Your task is to figure out what your word is.

An unknown Jewish theologian got even more granular than that. He said that your life is a single letter that can either be meaningless on its own or meaningful when put into context.

Helen Keller said that life is either a great adventure, or it is nothing at all.

Carl Sandburg wrote, "Life is an onion. You peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep."

T.A. Dorgan said, "Life is like eating artichokes. You've got to go through so much to get so little."

Shall I continue, or would you rather know what I think?

I think...Life is a classroom.