Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Life is not a Wish Concert

This morning I was introduced to another fabulous German saying! While I was getting my coffee, M came into the kitchen and asked me, "If someone said to you 'Life is not a wish concert,' would you know what he means?" Well, no - I've never heard that before, but it's not too hard to figure out.

Das Leben ist kein Wunschkonzert.
This means that you don't always get to decide things for yourself in life; sometimes you have to take what comes.

This is apparently a well-known Sprichwort in German, though I'd never heard it until now. The thing that made M laugh is that it was said in a press conference by football/soccer trainer Jürgen Klopp, who was born in Stuttgart and is now coaching in Liverpool, and of course he was speaking English. He translated the saying literally into English, which almost always ends up sounding funny when the phrase isn't also known in the language into which it was translated!

Klopp is a very emotional coach, and his face hides nothing.  I find him fun to watch.
In English there are sayings vaguely similar to this, but I still like the "wish concert" the best.

    Life isn't always a bed of roses.
    Life isn't all beer and Skittles.
    Life is no picnic.

Those all basically mean that life can be difficult. I can't think of an English saying that means the same as "das Leben ist kein Wunschkonzert."  We do say "beggars can't be choosers," but the German saying has nothing to do with begging.

The German phrase also - of course - lacks the cheery optimism of "When life throws you lemons, make lemonade!"

Perhaps "Sometimes you just have to take what comes" is the best we can do, but that's simply a truthful statement and not cleverly phrased.

Anyway, I am quite certain I'll be adopting this phrase into my day-to-day language, just as I use other German words and phrases when speaking with those who know both languages - such as "Donkey-Bridge" (Eselsbrücke) for a mnemonic device I create to help me remember something.

So just remember, the next time you don't get what you want, life throws you a curveball, or something happens that you weren't prepared for:

Life is not a wish concert!!


1 comment:

  1. I would have just translated it as "You can't always get what you want".

    Do you know "Das Leben ist kein Ponyhof"? Same kind of thing, but I think that one goes more in the direction of life is no picnic/not a walk in the park.