“WOAH! Man, you just ran through a big pile of dog shit!”
When you’re a kid and bad things happen, you cry and throw tantrums and eventually ‘get over it,’ never reflecting on the future effects of the situation. When you’re an adult, it’s different. Sure you can cry and throw tantrums, but in order to get over things you actually have to figure something out. You either have to ask the question, “How is this bad thing or situation going to affect my future?” or “How do I reverse the consequences or better the outcome?” But usually the first question we ask ourselves “Why did this bad thing happen?” To which we then answer ourselves with the cliche, yet many times true response, “Everything happens for a reason.”
This is a wholly acceptable answer for the moment, often used as a source of solace in a sordid situation; however, that answer sometimes leads us on the daunting quest to figure out exactly what that reason was, propelling us into further anxiety.
A few months ago I filled three whole pages in my journal about one of my most embarrassing moments as an adult and perhaps in my entire life.
I peed in the elevator at my apartment complex.
No, I was not drunk (I almost wish I were, since then it would be a bit more understandable); but I had made the poor decision to take the 7 minute walk to my car, followed by a 22 minute drive home, and a 2 minute wait for the elevator to my apartment on a bladder full of ginger ale and a 1.5 liter bottle of water. As the elevator doors finally closed and I felt myself being lifted to my floor I didn’t even have the chance to do my potty dance before my bladder gave way. Not a little dribble, the flood gates opened. Mortified, and now bawling my eyes out and still peeing, I ran to my apartment to hurry and change clothes so I could mop up the elevator, and now the hallway! As I’m on hands and knees wiping up the last drops with my Clorox wipes, I feel myself being lifted to another floor! Shoot! I scramble all of my cleaning supplies just as my upstairs neighbor entered the elevator. Clever, young lady that I am played it off with a “Ugh, damn dog!” only to find out later on that my apartment doesn’t even allow dogs, curses!
At the time, I was so humiliated, I couldn’t believe something so juvenile had happened to me. All I wanted to know was, why?! What was I doing wrong in my life. I’m supposed to be an adult. Adults don’t have these troubles. After taking a three page journey through my journal, which hurled me into what I’d self-diagnosed as my quarter-life crisis, I realized there was nothing wrong. I’d soaked through a pair of nylons and tracked pee through the hallway simply because I got distracted leaving work and tried to make it home without using the restroom. I didn’t have some subconscious emotional distress; I wasn’t exhausted or experiencing some major mental anxiety; I had to go. It happens.
Truth: Everything that happens has both a cause and a reaction or consequence. But, somewhere between Grimm fairy tales and physics class we’ve developed this undying need to find the moral in every story, or solve problems that aren’t necessarily problems. Sometimes, when it causes more anxiety than solace to figure out the ‘why’ it is wholly acceptable and probably best to just accept the fact that sometimes sh!t happens, for no good reason other than it just does. And in these cases, we can either wallow in our self-induced angst trying to understand the mysterious ways of the universe, or clean up the mess and work on the real problems in our lives.