There’s a cheesy sentiment that I strongly dislike, which is the idea that it was good that various bad things happened to you because they got you where you are today.

That’s bunk. It’s of course better if fewer bad things happen. A life where nothing bad ever happens would be ideal! I mean, by the logic of the opening statement you should just be blindly walking into traffic all the time because bad things make your life better and put you in a better future position.

So yeah, a life with no bad events would be great. But that’s not going to happen.

Bad things will absolutely happen to you. So here’s what you have to do: you have to make the cheesy sentiment true.

I know someone who’s a trauma counselor. She entered that profession due to some very severe trauma that was inflicted on her. She would sometimes talk about that particular trauma and say that it happened to her for a reason, in order to prepare her to be a counselor that could help others. And that in that sense, it was good for her.

But what really happened was more meaningful. What really happened was that something very happened for her for no reason at all other than that the world can sometimes be very, very cruel. But then, she refused to accept that. She gave her misery a reason to have happened, choosing to do the thing it had prepared her for. She wasn’t destined at the beginning of her life to be a trauma counselor and needed that catalyst event to set her on that path. No, she made her own destiny, by living better than the misery had wanted her to.

To outlive doesn’t just mean to live longer. It means to live better. Better than the crushing weight of all the unavoidable bad things that a cruel universe will inflict on you. Those things don’t happen for a reason. But you can make one.

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