Monday, November 16, 2009

Life Isn't Fair, But It's Still Good

I’ve always known that life isn’t fair. My parents tell me so regularly. As a child, I’d whine about something trivial such as my sister getting her dinner plate served up and placed in front of her before I did. And my parents would reply in unison, annoyed, “Life isn’t fair, Honey.” As a high school athlete, when I’d scowl in attempt to repress a river’s worth of tears while hissing about a referee’s bad call, whimpering about the unfairness of losing a championship game my senior year, they’d simply tell me that life isn’t fair. And in college, when a close friend of my sorority’s passed away unexpectedly, I called my parents and cried. When there was nothing left to say, as we were without a reasonable explanation for the untimely death of a college student, they uttered the words that I knew they would, but this time with deep sympathy: “Life’s not fair, Honey.”

My take on this phrase is that there’s nothing anyone can do about some stuff. Occasionally the words are comforting. They take the pressure off, allowing me to leave things up to fate. But other times they provoke gloom, and I feel sorry for myself when comparing aspects of my life to others’. I determine that my job and apartment aren’t on par with so-and-so’s job and apartment. I wonder, why did I get stuck in the Tenderloin when so-and-so found a dreamy flat in North Beach? And, why did the economy choose to flounder right after I graduated? Why couldn’t it have waited a year to inconvenience a different graduating class? How the hell am I supposed to get a career now? (My answer: Because life’s not fair.)

My mom sent me an email today, and after reading it, I realized I’d forgotten how fortunate I am - and how superficial some of my worries are. So far, my life has been splendid (and pretty fair, even). Her email listed thirty inspirational and thought-provoking one-liners about life and love. (See below. The bold ones are my favorites.) I've already started following the advice, leaving bits of the stress and frivolousness that come with city life behind me...

1. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
2. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
3. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
4. Pay off your credit cards every month.
5. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
6. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
7. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
8. Don't compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journeys are all about.
Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
10. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
11. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
12. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
13. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you.
14. When it comes to going after what you love, don't take no for an answer.
15. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, and wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
16. Over prepare, and then go with the flow.
17. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
18. The most important sex organ is the brain.
19. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: In five years, will this matter?
20. Forgive everyone for everything.
21. What other people think of you is none of your business.
22. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
23. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
24. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
25. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
26. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
27. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
28. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
29. The best is yet to come.
30. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

leave a little note!

  1. Dear Meghan,

    I Loved reading this entry. When I read a post that not only lets me see into your thoughts but strikes several of my own...its insirping. I stopped and thought about those tips on the list- I liked #10, 15, 23, & 30.

    Keep up the great work!