It’s all going to work out fine in the end.
For years, “everything will be okay” was one of my favorite phrases. I still like it, but after an improv instructor pointed out that it’s the sort of thing people say when they have nothing else to say, I kind of agreed and realized I should get another phrase. But I still come back to it sometimes.
I like it not just to hear, but also to say to others. (When I was a software program manager, I said it so often that I became known for it. After a particularly difficult release, we got the team a cake and my lead developer wrote “everything will be okay” in black icing across the top. I wish I had a picture.)
What I like about “everything will be okay” is that it is so many things in one.
It is optimistic. It is the cardinal opposite of “everything is horrible and nothing will ever again be alright,” or, said differently, my least favorite phrase of all time: “it is what it is” — the wail of the defeatist.
It is stoic. It is as though to say, “shit happened. Okay. Shit always happens. Shit will go on happening — forever — and some of that shit is going to be shit we didn’t want. This is part of being alive — we don’t always get everything, and this, as it turns out, was one of them, but this is also just a little reminder that we are not life’s masters. It’s our job to adapt, not design.”
It is reassuring. It doesn’t feel factual. It just feels good. It feels like that hair caress our grandma used to do, the cool hand running over the side of the head. “There, there, little one.” It sounds like nonsense, if we think about it, but we don’t care, because it makes us feel better. But the best part is, it’s not even nonsense.
It is factual. Everything will, in one way or another, be okay. Because life moves on and life will sort itself out and even if it’s all different than we expected, life does — always — adapt. And so will you.
This is just one part of your life. It may go on for days — or weeks; months; years. There may be no end in sight. But at the end of it all, it’s just one phase of your entire existence. As long as you keep your head up.
You’re not the only one going through shit. I know when you’re in the shit, it’s hard to see this, much less care. But you’re not the first person to hate their job, or feel lost about what to do, or lose a loved one, or get rejected.
This is part of the human experience — not some interruption to it.
Having shit happen that you didn’t plan or want is part of being alive.
And if that’s true — if everyone goes through this at some point — then it must also be true that it will all smooth out and turn out okay. Otherwise we would all be caught up in that dude that never called us back 7 years ago — rather than celebrating the love we later found.
Instead of inaction in the face of life obstacles or despair, think of what your long term goals. Some define procrastination as “weakness in the face of impulse” rather than laziness. So remember what you want, and go for it. Stop choosing cheap consumer fodder over what you really want. Look past today, and envision yourself as what you could be. And go for it.
I’m not saying you’ll get everything exactly as you want it, but it will all be okay. Because life is “okay.” Life has shit, and life adapts — this is one of the most basic truth of living it.