We’ve all heard the phrase “shit happens”. It’s used as a blanket term to just say, well what can you do? That’s life right? At the end of college, a friend of mine and I modified that term to say “life happens” and then we were like, “it’s a bumpy ride, kinda need a helmet.”

We made t-shirts to commemorate our creativity and wisdom.

Such is the life of a 21 year old.

Now, with my actual wisdom I’ve accumulated 14 years later, I’d like to dissect this phrase a little bit more.

Life Happens

Pretty self-explanatory. No matter what your intentions, or how well-laid your plans, life happens. In other words, things happen that you didn’t want, didn’t plan for, don’t know how to react to and at the time everything feels like a disaster.

A prime example of this: my mother got sick a couple of years ago. There’s no family history, she’s not a smoker, she’s not overweight….she had no risk factors for what she was diagnosed with. At the same time, my dating life and work-life fell apart, and some of my new found friendships at the time proved to be toxic. There was no part of my life that was left unturned.

However, no matter how bad it was back then, or how bad I felt, my experiences are by no means unique. Life happens to all of us.

Life doesn’t care what you’ve planned for sometimes. Sometimes you have to understand that everything happens for a reason. The good the bad, the happy the sad (I feel like that’s a song..). You have to roll with the punches and handle it.

Funny thing about life: when you think you’ve resolved one issue and can settle down again, another one will smack you in the face. I’ve noticed that as I’ve gotten older this happens more frequently. Adulting is super overrated. The responsibilities and the stress all increase, and at the same time the number of things that can go wrong also goes up.

Get a Helmet

We have no control over what happens to us. All we can control are our reactions.

So, as my saying goes, get a helmet…or your version of it, be it body armor, a sword, a shield.

In other words, do what you need to do to protect yourself from the haters, and shield yourself from judgment. Use your armor to prepare yourself for the badness, and understand that bad things happen to everyone. Wield your sword to keep blazing your own path and to lead the way for others on their own road to success.

Putting It Together

It can often feel like life just keeps coming for you. The point is to embrace the suck and get into the mindset of taking things in stride. Life isn’t easy, and I don’t think it’s meant to be. I think it’s meant to teach us lessons so that we become the best version of ourselves that we can be and reach our full potential.

At the end of the day, all you can do is look for the lessons and silver linings and, stay positive. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and know that what is meant for you will be.

Don’t get me wrong, none of this is easy, and I know that. I’m still looking for the meaning and the reason for some of the things I’ve dealt with. I deal with a lot more downs than I do ups on a regular basis. But, you power through. Give yourself permission to stop thinking and worrying about things you can’t control.

Most importantly, don’t wait for things to “settle”, or for your life to look like some fantasy that you’ve imagined. Don’t waste time waiting to be happy, to live. Life is crazy, and life is short. No matter what is going on, we have to put on our helmets and gear and make the most of the time we do have so that we don’t wake up with regrets.

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