No, Not Everything Will Work Out (And That’s Okay)


“Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”

I’ve heard the above idiom a handful of times. The internet seems to point to John Lennon as the first person to say it, but frankly, who knows? You could claim Marilyn Monroe said, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” on GoodReads and someone out there will nod in agreement.

Personally, this quote never did much. It wasn’t the blanket of You’ll Be Just Fine that people expected it to be. To me, it sounded like a person who hadn’t experienced much. A person who was still swimming in the safety of naivety.

I always recognized when it came from a good place and did my best to smile, thank whoever the well-intentioned person was for the (misplaced) inspiration. I held back my eye rolls. Because I know what works for someone else doesn’t translate into working for me. I wouldn’t expect it to.

There’s actually something I’ve always found charming about people who turn to quotes for comfort. It’s really no different from seeking solace in one’s favorite book, movie, television show, etc. We’re quick to make fun of Pinterest boards and cheesy lines stenciled on planners. But why? Who cares? If it works for them, great.

So what if you’re like me? You hear,

“Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”

and you just think, “Lie. Lie. Lie.”

What are you supposed to do? Are you expected to buy into every bit of perfect cheerfulness and chalk it all up to “God’s plan” when you don’t even know what you believe? Do you plaster a permanent smile and agree that, yes, everything will always be okay?

No. You don’t. You don’t swallow your own emotions and experiences. You don’t squish yourself to fit into whatever the proper image of grieving should be. You don’t allow others to dictate how you will be okay. When you will be okay. If you’ll be okay.

It’s taken me a long time to learn some things don’t work out. Sometimes, no, things aren’t alright in the end. And that’s the end of it. There isn’t a grand crescendo, a light in the distance that illuminates how everything came to be.

Every now and then, something bad happens and that’s just it. It happened.

Is it shitty? Of course. But accepting that is one of the more morbid parts of life. But morbidity doesn’t mean it isn’t important. There is a strange peacefulness that can come with it.

Realizing shit happens, and you will still find a way through it, is weirdly beautiful. No, you don’t need to find a reason. No, you don’t need to search for the silver lining if you don’t want to. Maybe it’s there. Maybe it’s not. You shouldn’t beat yourself up if you can’t see it.

It might not be there to begin with.

I’m sorry if you wanted this to be an #inspo piece you could print out and look at when things feel tough. I’m sorry if you Googled a question and this was nowhere near close to the answer you hoped.

But I guess, I’m hoping if there are people out there like me; people who have seen the underside of the beast and can’t bring themselves to believe there’s a beauty in such things, I want you to know it’s okay. I want you to know not everything bad needs explanation. I want you to know you’re not alone. And you can survive. But not everything does work out. Still, I think you’ll figure it out. I think you’ll find a way. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

About the author

Ari Eastman

✨ real(ly not) chill. poet. writer. mental health activist. mama shark. ✨

More From Thought Catalog