Romancing the Horse
10 November 2018
This week saw the running of the Melbourne Cup, a horse race of such significance that the 4.9 million people in Melbourne enjoy a public holiday. It’s such a huge event that almost everyone in Australia stops to watch it. Around the country, office workers dress up and enjoy long (sometimes boozy) lunches to celebrate the race. It is also the one event in the year where it’s socially acceptable to gamble, even for children. I certainly have fond memories of choosing my horse as a young child and watching the race hoping my one dollar bet will succeed.
This year was the first time that I didn’t follow the race. It wasn’t deliberate. I no longer live in Melbourne and so don’t get the public holiday. I look after my daughter on Tuesdays and so wasn’t part of any office activities. I rarely read or listen to the news and didn’t even realise it was on until a friend mentioned it to me on the morning of the race.
As I hadn’t participated in any of the lead up events, such as placing a bet, dressing up or going out for lunch, I was not at all invested in the race. It became just another horse race, an activity I have no interest in whatsoever. Without all of the romance I was able to objectively consider the race. Horses are encouraged with a whip to run around an oval at the extremes of their physical limits. One horse was injured badly enough that it had to be put down. It’s quite amazing that the glamour of the event allows most people to look past the negative aspects of the sport.
How often does romance or excitement, or the fact that everyone else is doing it, lead us to spend our time and money on things that, upon reflection, aren’t really a priority for us? What if we deliberately added some romance to events that are important to us−creating a sense of excitement and fond memories.
Injecting romance doesn’t mean spending a lot of money or invoking a cliché (ie a bunch of roses or a box of chocolates). Rather it’s preparing a meal with or for someone you care about instead of having take-away dinner on the couch. Maybe it’s picking a flower from the garden and placing it in a jar on the dinner table, or lighting a candle to signify that this meal means something, even if it’s just an ordinary week night. Maybe it’s taking more care when dressing up for a gathering with friends or relatives. Or simply reflect on what’s important to you and back that horse−the odds of winning are excellent.