Recently Barbara and I were at the beach and as is usually the case, I was looking for shade. We had two beach chairs and our umbrella. I set them up and placed my chair where the angle of the sun against the umbrella allowed me to sit in the shade. My skin type does not fare well in the sun but Barbara enjoys the sun and I enjoy being with her so occasionally I go to the beach with her. When we go, I stay in the shade most of the time. Everyone who knows me has plenty of jokes about me being in the shade.

While I was sitting under the umbrella, I began to think about how we use the phrase “made in the shade”. We say that about people who we believe have it easy or have it “made”. I realized that it is not that easy to stay in the shade. I also realized that most of the people we are talking about probably don’t have it as made as we think they do. So I thought I would share a few things about being in the shade and maybe you will not be envious the next time you see someone you think has it “made in the shade”.

It Is Temporary

The sun is constantly moving which means that shade is constantly changing. The place that is shaded now will not be shaded for long. I understand there may be a few limited places that are always shaded, but for the most part, shade only lasts for a short period of time. Around noon, it is difficult to find shade because the sun is directly overhead and casts very few shadows. For the person who you think has it so easy at the moment, understand that wherever they are in life is only temporary. What looks like “made” at the moment could very well turn into a scorching hot problem soon. The other thing that is valuable to understand is that most people seek shade because they are overheating. You may have missed their moment of exhaustion and only caught them at what you consider a “made” moment. Either way, the current situation is only temporary at best.

You Have To Keep Moving If You Want To Keep It

As I mentioned, because the sun is always moving the shade is always moving. If you see someone in the shade repeatedly, it is probably not because they have been sitting in the same place the entire time. To stay in the shade requires you to be constantly adjusting. I would say this is also true in life. The people who you think always have it “made” do not have it made because they are sitting still. They are constantly moving and adjusting so they can stay there. As a matter of fact, the most effective and successful people are constantly moving and adjusting so they can stay in the place they need to be. You think they have it “made in the shade” when in reality they work smart and adjust well so they stay where they need to be.

It Might Not Be For Everyone

When I am at the beach I stay in the shade almost the entire time. I will get in the water occasionally or play a game for a little while, but most of the time I am under a tent or umbrella. Barbara, on the other hand, spends almost the entire time in the direct sun. She is tanning and loves it. Any time you look on the beach you can find other similar scenarios. Some love the shade while others love the sun. Everyone has a preference. When we start comparing our lives or our state in life with others, we are in danger of not understanding their preferences and needs at the moment. They may just prefer the shade while you prefer the sun. They may like a certain type of job while you enjoy another. The same is true of hobbies, vacations, time off or even when and how they work. Just because you do not enjoy the shade does not mean that those who do are bad and vice-versa. Comparison can be a trap. If you are content with your state in life, that is what matters.

So the next time you see someone that you think has it “made in the shade”, maybe you will think a little differently about it. Be content with your own life and what others do will not be quite as disruptive. 

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