As someone who has ruined her life on more than one occasion, I feel that I can speak to this topic. I won’t list all the various things I ought to feel badly about because you probably already know about them or can easily find them by clicking around this site.
There have been so many times when my life seemed over. “This is it,” I thought. “I’ve finally sunk so low or stumbled into something so bad that I will never recover.” But then I find myself months or years later looking back at it as just another one of those things that became a core part of who I am. I’m not sure I want to be one of those smugly self-actualized people who says things like “I regret nothing,” but I can’t really picture my life without all those brief life-ending circumstances.
It’s confusingly shitty (and possibly magical) that we can’t divorce the good from the bad. We want to rewrite history until we realize we’d be giving up all the unexpected and positive things that came after.
But if you’re really keen on ruining your life, just do the following:
Live how everyone else thinks you should Every generation and culture has its own hierarchy of worthy life pursuits for us to pick from. Sure, I’m a “millennial,” and was told by Nickelodeon and YM to never give up on my dreams— but even that fluffy bit of encouragement is superficial and manufactured. How many of us have actually taken the time to figure out what we want, instead of us just standing in the super market line of life choices and blindly throwing things into the basket?
I want to do something other than what has been considered the most desirable course of action by the largest number of people. Even if it means I have less money in the bank or fewer credentials below my name.
It’s comforting to have approval, to blend in, and to win that sexy feeling of admiration and envy from your peers. It’s also a lot easier to not really think about things. But that puts us in danger of ending up with years of stuff we never really wanted in the first place. I don’t want to turn into the life equivalent of some garage-sale-addicted hoarder who can’t help but buy every single thing she sees for 25 cents.
Maybe we don’t really have enemies I know I sound like I’m advocating for all of us to go have an unplanned pregnancy, mental breakdown, or personal tragedy, but that’s not what I mean. I think we aren’t at war with life’s circumstances. I think we experience things so they can shave down our sharper bits or sharpen our softer bits, depending on who we are and what we need.
Right now, life is good. This makes it easy for me to float around on my zen-crusted cloud of insight. But I know there’s always something dark lurking around the corner and when I come to it, I need to remember that this same good I’ll be missing was the outcome of a previous bad. When everything conspires to convince me that I’ve ruined my life, I will realize that I’m actually doing the exact opposite. I am living it.
Have you ever felt like your life was ruined? Do you feel like you would have chosen this life for yourself when you were younger? Has any good come out of your bad things?
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