We all have favorite quotes we cling to, either to make ourselves feel better during a tough time or to pass along to others who might need some good old fashioned wisdom.
One of mine comes from literary legend John Steinbeck who wrote this to his son after he sought advice on a girl he was falling for:
“Don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens — The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.”
I used to buy into this idealism. I used to read it to myself when I lost someone or something important to me. It used to be a comforting thought.
But one can only lose so much “good” from their lives before they realize that Steinbeck’s words weren’t just optimistic; they were naive.
Good things get away all the time. Every day, in fact, from people who didn’t necessarily deserve it or see it coming.
The truth is, what we want in life—the good — doesn’t just materialize on its own if we sit on our couches and keep our fingers tightly crossed.
There is no hidden operator behind the curtain who will adjust the wheels and cogs of our destiny to make sure something or someone we lost — a best friend, a family member, a soulmate — comes back.
This is not a Netflix romcom where the script is already written and the two main characters are just 90 minutes away from realizing what a mistake it was to let a petty conflict or some outside force drive them apart.
This is life. It’s brutal and unforgiving. It stings. Bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people.
We are catastrophically wrong when we tell ourselves that the universe will sort out our messes, that it’ll make that phone ring when we want it to ring or magically change somebody else’s mind.
At the end of the day, it’s up to us to fight for who and what we want, to write our own screenplays, to cherish all the good we have before we lose it.
Because what’s “meant to be” doesn’t happen on its own. Sometimes you have to fight like hell for it.
Even then, you might come up short. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying.