I’m going to be honest. The past six months have not been easy for me.
An illness has struck my body that oftentimes leaves me stuck to my bed. My health has deteriorated rapidly in the past year with little explanation. I know I have long-haul COVID, but even that doesn’t explain everything. My original plan for this year was to move all the way to Europe and start university in the beautiful city of Prague, but, due to the pandemic, I’m still in the United States living a life that’s far different from what I had planned. I’m stuck in a cycle of the unexpected.
I’m not the only one. I received texts from friends saying that they’re feeling overwhelmed and anxious. That their life situations haven’t turned out the way they wished.
While many are trying to carry through life the normal way, the world is struggling under the weight of a pandemic. Remember back when people didn’t wear masks? It feels as if life were drastically different a year ago. The smallest facets of society have shifted. Businesses have closed, people have made discoveries, and the book of history has welcomed more and more unexpected chapters.
My dear reader, learn to expect the unexpected.
It’s much more likely that life will turn out differently than planned. Ten years ago, I would have told everyone that when I was as old as I am now, I would be an author of children’s books. I thought I’d live in the United Arab Emirates until I was at least twenty-five. But I’m not an author, I’m not twenty-five yet, and I’m living in the United States. More than that, I’m not the same person who used to make those claims. I’ve changed.
Change isn’t definitively a bad thing. Unexpected twists and turns happen naturally—and that’s okay. Sometimes, the unexpected is a tool to simply bring about more good. And, being a natural occurrence, it is bound to happen. Our mortal brains cannot predict the mechanisms of the entire universe. Besides, if life were completely predictable, what would the point be?
Nonetheless, the unexpected isn’t always beautiful. Sometimes it’s dark. difficult occurrences. Car crashes. Natural disasters. Losses. It would be ignorant to pass off the unexpected as a “potential good” and fail to address the darkness behind some unexpected occurrences.
Expecting the unexpected helps for those times, too—which doesn’t have to be a pessimistic concept. An example of this is the Latin phrase “Momento Mori”; remember that you will die.
Death, something that is oftentimes agonizing, becomes more difficult to accept, understand, and process when its existence is ignored. The ability to be comfortable with the fact that death is natural and will happen to everybody allows people to die well. Being reminded of the existence of mortality—the fact that, with our mortal nature, life will have losses, changes, and decays—is important. Doing the same by remembering the unexpected allows us to react to such situations well.
Learn how to live with the great unexpected. Sometimes it is full of joy and other times it is full of sorrow. In conclusion, dear reader, be prepared for the good and bad things that come along the way—even if they come without warning.