Warning: Adult Language
Shit happens whether you want it to or not.
By “shit,” I don’t just mean your run of the mill dream-crushing, day-ruining, mood-wrecking, wine-warranting event sequences. I also mean “shit” like unbelievable joy, surprising fun and insurmountable learning experiences. Let’s get really clear about some facts, together.
Things happen. We can’t control that.
We have no power over the fact that the world exists beyond and outside of our perception of it. In fact, we are very small in comparison to the trajectory of all things. You know this, of course. Here’s the kicker though, we’ve got some power. We’ve got power in some seriously badass capabilities to take bad shit and make it wonderful. Now, you’re probably like “You’re crazy,” “Stop re-reading ‘The Alchemist’,” etc.
Choices. Big stuff. Shit happens whether we want it to or not, but we have a choice. We choose how we react to things happening all around us. Truthfully, as much as we would all love to cling to this idea, things don’t happen “to us,” they just happen and we choose to throw an elaborate pity party for ourselves. I find this thought trajectory especially pert during the holiday season when, say, you are braving the aisles for a much sought after something and your foot is run over by a shopping cart while your ears are berated by a gaggle of tiny, screaming humans. (I might be speaking from experience.)
The fact of the matter is, there’s a choice here.
Do I curse Chris Kringle, Jack Frost and Rudolph all to hell? Do I retaliate by throwing some poorly-executed “Negative Nancy” remarks the way of the cart wielder? I could do that. I could do that and feel a thirty second satisfaction and then a subsequent and much more drawn out feeling of wanting to crawl in an anti-holiday hole.
There’s another choice. The choice to laugh. To say “Fuck it.” To say “YOLO” and twerk on out of there happy to have survived at all.
This is where the power lies, in creating a life that is less about holding onto feelings which don’t serve us—like brawling at Toys R’ Us—and more about letting go. I do not consider myself an expert or an authority on anything, really, but I can confidently say I know a thing or two about laughing and having fun. Frankly, those two activities are the ones that interest me the most.
At it’s root, the “fuck it” choice is about non-attachment. It’s recognizing that we can’t control the world, as much as we would like to. There is so much freedom in accepting this and choosing to laugh. I could be really cliché and cheesy and mention that life is short, so party hard, but I won’t take you down that over-traveled road.
Okay, we took a short jaunt.
When we stop taking everything seriously, we realize how much humor there is in nearly every instance of life. We realize that life is actually just a series of choices. From birth to death, all we’re doing is choosing, no right or wrong. This isn’t any kind of encouragement to disregard your responsibilities and take off for the Islands with a crate of tequila.
It’s about accepting everything exactly as it is, where you are, and embracing it so you can find some joy.
Reflecting back on instances of frustration and anxiety, I can say with full commitment that I would much rather have been dancing. When shit happens, choose wisely.
Choose your bliss.
With that, I leave you with this:
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Assistant Editor: Alicia Wozniak/Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photo: elephant journal archives