It’s Melbourne Cup Day again and they say it’s the race that stops a nation. I hope that by the time you read this you have not blown too many dollars. Having horses myself I have taken an interest in this event since I was a kid in 1952 when Delta won the Cup. I also think of the disappointment for the many with interstate horses that are locked out of Victoria – all that preparation for nothing. For some people it’s the love of horses, some, the thrill of risk taking in gambling, for others it’s an excuse for a break from work and for others it’s a time to let your hair down and party. That led my thinking to winners and losers. ‘They’ say that winners are grinners, but no one seems to care about losers. In monetary terms millions will be lost on this spring carnival yet from the TV ads one would get the impression that winners and grinners are everywhere. News came out this week that Victorians spent 3.7million on pokies alone and that doesn’t count the races. Without wanting to be a killjoy and considering my love for horses, I am beginning to see the popularity of these carnivals as an escape from the world of reality and mundane life. In ever increasing numbers we are succumbing to depression and stress which is producing new heightened levels of heart attack and stroke. No wonder we want to get off the leash. However in many cases people are running away from their responsibility to say no to the costly trappings of life that we think, say that we are ok and acceptable. We seem unable or unwilling to control our diets, our work hours, our mortgages and our less than helpful habits. For some the perceived chance of a big win might be the answer to all their problems. Talking of responsibility, there is a debate around at the moment about whether gambling or drug taking, leading to addiction, is a disease/illness or a bad life habit out of control. As a counsellor I believe that the only thing that is handed down genetically is the possible propensity to be anxious and therefore the need for a ‘crutch’. The ‘crutch’ that many chose is a ‘drug’ of choice, whether it is an illicit drug, the drug of the gambling lure or alcohol. Of course if the concern is to get as far away as possible from that which makes us anxious then how far will that be? How many dollars will be enough? How many days off will do the trick? How confusing then, does it get when our place of work is both the stressor and the place we hide to avoid other more uncontrollable areas of our life? Well, enjoy the day but give a thought to what ‘you’ are doing with it. Think about it, there might even be a higher purpose for your life and a new guide rail, which determines why you do what you do – maybe you could put it through the ‘God filter’.
Co-ordinator Focal Point & Valley Care Counsellor & Manager