Growing up, as I was affected by various terrible events, I would wonder, why do bad things happen? And, especially, why do bad things happen to me?
Now, looking back, I can say, with absolute certainty, that bad things don’t just happen to me, or even to just an unfortunate few – bad things happen to everyone. It’s just a matter of varying degrees, scenarios and timing. I’m not even saying this as an opinion (although it is) but as fact. The statistical information says that you have as much of a chance of having brown eyes as having a chronic illness or being a victim of sexual violence.
Everyone should have dreams and hopes, everyone. Extremely unrealistic expectations are where dreams and hopes can start to negatively affect your world view and life. So many people believe they will become famous, so many people think they will one day win big with the lotto – but there’s less of a chance of that as being hit by lightning. Yet very few people count on a random bolt of lightning to succeed.
On the flip-side, almost half of the population has a chronic illness, will be sexually assaulted and/or will develop cancer.
Meaning- 1) there will be cross-over. Several bad things will happen to everyone.
2) bad things happen to more people than you realized. If 45% of women report cases of sexual violence, and 73% of cases aren’t even reported, than pretty much every woman is a victim of sexual violence. So, if you haven’t been assaulted, you are really lucky, and you definitely know women that have, whether they tell you or not.
3) other people are probably dealing with a varying selection of negative crap, at all times, and they probably aren’t going to mention it. No one wants to be a downer. No one enjoys reliving a painful experience or call unnecessary attention to it. Therefore, that jerk at the coffee shop may have just found out his mom is sick, or that lady that cut you off might actually be heading to an emergency.
It also means victims who come forward are probably telling the truth. Assault happens all the time. Someone is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds, so believe them when they tell you. And don’t forget not everyone will tell.
4) there is not a great chance you (or I) will become famous or win the lotto. We probably won’t live out our wildest fantasies, and we need to accept that. My happiness is always anchored in the idea of my same-ness, the universal quality to my experiences. Why get down on myself for not being famous or rich? Most people are not famous or rich, and I am suspiciously like most people. I’ve planned for and saught-out peace and a moderate level of success- not too much more (I’m a realist, after all). Even if I were rich or famous, it wouldn’t save me from the bad things that come with life (it probably would just add to the stack of problems, honestly).
Why do bad things happen? Because we’re human, and this is life. The only solace we have is that we are not alone. We all share so much more than we realize.
When my father disowned me, I wondered why this happened to me. At different times, I wished I had 2 parents. That was until I realized how many other people are raised by a single parent. It’s a completely reasonable risk that’s just a part of life. Not every adult takes to being a parent, not everyone has what it takes. That my dad was one of those people was not totally unlikely. The odds were…meh. But, I’m fine. I’m lucky, really. And I’m one of the people who has a disability, chronic illness, mental illness, single parent family and is a sexual assault victim (plus some other + things). All of that happened to me and I still feel lucky.
I mean, it could be worse. It could always be worse. And even if it can’t, we’ll be fine- because humans are made to be fine, in spite of all the bad things that happen.