People have always told me that everything happens for a reason…and I never believed them. I prefer to view my life as resulting directly from my own actions rather than the hand of fate or chance or whatever else may be at play. Recently this has been an ever-present issue in my life: for the past year I’ve been bouncing around various temp jobs, pondering my future and worrying about stable finances. Whenever I would get upset or disheartened and proclaim, existentially, to my family “I have no future!”, my mother would sit me down with a hot cup of tea and say: “Don’t worry dear, everything happens for a reason.”
I would vehemently oppose this, the cynic that I am, and insist that people just say that to feel better. Of course everything happens for a reason, but the reason was that the person was skilled and smart enough (or stupid enough) to do that to themselves. It had nothing to do with God, or the planets, or “destiny”, whatever that is. My mother would scowl and take her tea in the other room. It’s not that I piss off my mom on purpose. Or enjoy being a cynic (only sometimes). I just didn’t believe it….Until now.
I don’t think that everything happens because of fate, or destiny, or the stars aligning, and no I’m not joining any organized religion (whatever that means). It means simply this: Everything happens for a reason, because we make reasons out of everything that happens. We make lemonade.
What I’ve learned from the last year, with my perpetual struggles with work, my health, and my confidence, is that every experience is worth something. Maybe I didn’t get paid to sit on my couch in my pajamas for 4 months, but I did get to spend a lot of time with my dad and nieces. Those memories are now priceless. I got to hear stories from my dad about his journey to America, discover an amazing used book store tucked away in New Hampshire, and even see my youngest niece’s first steps!
It’s not about why things happen. Most of the time we can’t control this anyway, so why should we trouble ourselves. It’s about what happens, and what you do to respond. It’s just like the quote after which this blog is named: “Behave so the general aroma of your actions enhances the general sweetness of the atmosphere.”
Now, after months of looking, I am working as a temp in an office near my house. Most days I do nothing (and get paid for it), which most people don’t see as a problem at all. But what people don’t realize is that when you are idle, uninspired, and starting at a cubicle wall for 7 hours a day, you lose the ability to see things happening for the right reasons. It’s the reason I haven’t posted in weeks, and the reason I usually feel even worse about myself than having no job at all. While it’s nice to have money, and some structure, I will always wonder what realizations and ideas I missed because I was in this little corporate box.
Don’t just suck on your lemons and keep your face in a pout: squeeze them until every drop of juice comes out, and sweeten!