How often do you question life? Like it’s some kind of attainable thing, you look at life like it’s some entity in the clouds somewhere, with a resume’ of its most important qualities. You look up at the sky with a furrowed brow, questioning life like it’s got a voice box and it’s going to answer you. Instead it just starts raining.
Maybe it’s just a thing us girls do when we’re feeling all woe-is-me and shoving cheese doodles into our mouths by the handful during a rough week, on an especially rough night, when the frickin’ Chinese delivery guy forgot our eggroll. But I’m going to just put the emotional eating part under the female category and bring up the main question that we all plague ourselves with on unusually hard days.
What is life?
We know we’re setting ourselves up for failure when we stoop this low and ask such a question. Of course, self, let me just ask one of the most vague and unanswerable questions on this planet, even though I know I can’t even solve an quadratic equation—and that’s on a good day. So what does this mean for us on bad not-so-good day?
It means we want to make sense of all the craziness that seems to dog-pile when we’re already down. Because we all know there’s got to be a mastermind of evilness behind the ironies that are way too ironic to actually be, wait for it… Real life. And since my generation has made it a colloquialism to ask if anything is real life, I think we should really look at just what real life is. Well, real life’s annoying, unfair, and hard—especially when the Chinese guy says, “No eggroll.”
But what is it? I’ve asked myself this question way too many times in bouts of frustration and self-pity and mostly just unprecedented anger at “life” and whatever the hell it is. So I’m offering some of my somewhat civil answers that I’ve had time to think about, when I’m not crying over spilled wonton soup and cursing at my cat.
In the most literal sense I can communicate, life for an individual is a chronological series of events that are products of each other in succession. Thus, as our lives progress along the road of time, they pick up lots of little hitchhikers—some are creepy guys with beards that smell like gasoline and some are beautiful women wearing sequined bikinis and stilettos. The women represent everything you are happy about, so we’re just going to skip over those.
The creepers, however, are those things in your life you really wish just didn’t happen. Whether you’ve been through some real heavy stuff, like heartbreak, illness, or just overall devastation, I’m sure you’ve said to yourself, “Why?” Maybe you’ve done things you’re not proud of. Maybe you pantsed a friend in third grade in front of the entire auditorium. Maybe you weren’t faithful in a relationship. Maybe you drank too much tequila and ended up in the bushes somewhere without your shirt. Regardless of what has happened to you or what you’ve done, there are probably a couple things you wish could just be erased from your (and everyone else’s) memory forever. And maybe one day they will be, but for this moment when you’re sobbing about the fortune in your cookie that says you need to look at the bright side of things, maybe you should start just looking at the bright side of things… like, thank God Chinese places deliver.
But really. Life’s got some really uncool moments. It doesn’t matter whose fault they are or why they happened—they just happened. Because that’s all life really is. It’s what happens.
Life is found in the place where you saw your first shooting star but forgot to make a wish. It’s that stupid freaking jacket you would rather sweat to death in than donate to Goodwill. It’s in your favorite hide-and-seek spot where your brother never found you. It’s during those hysterics of happiness that really make you question why your face is so ugly when you laugh. It’s that obnoxiously sappy Valentine’s Day card your mom got you in ninth grade. It’s the bird shit on your freshly washed car. It’s in the moments you never got the credit you deserved, and it’s in the times you were praised for work that wasn’t yours.
One thing is certain. We’re all fighting the same, unfair battle. Some people may seem like they’ve got it all together, but we all know they probably have, like, really bad B.O. or something. So don’t be too hard on yourself. Unless you’re tripping on acid 24/7, this is real life, and it’s exactly what it seems. And before you know it, there will be another bird shitting on your car before you can find and kill the first one. Just get one of those people at the gas station advertising cleaning product to “please demonstrate” on your, *finger quotes,* abnormally dirty windshield.
Chin up, life’s out to get us all. It may not seem real at times and maybe that’s why we all joke about it, but if we didn’t have any surprises, what fun would that be? We’re all gonna be all right… Well, except for that Chinese delivery guy, until he brings me my eggroll.