2023: This Too Shall Pass
It has been a minute, as the kids say, since my last post. And I was sorely tempted to do a year-end post like I usually do. But then I chickened out. Between getting Omicron, getting endless rejections from publishers and agents and finally - FINALLY - landing a new job, 2022 was a year of extremes, to say the least. So I figured I'd leave the Snapshots from 2022 to Instagram, and instead write about equanimity.
You know, the ability to feel calm and composed in any situation. Like a global pandemic that threw the world off its axis for a couple of years and is now threatening... somehow... to come back?
I don't recall where I read it but someone had said that the phrase 'This too shall pass' is mistakenly used only for bad things. Illness, calamity, hardship - we say 'this too shall pass' as a mantra to get through it all. But in doing so, we ignore something that should've been obvious to us from the start: happiness, fitness, luck - these too shall pass. Because that is, not to sound too trite, life. We believe that if we do everything right - eat healthy, work out, pay our dues, work hard, love with all our heart - then bad things will not happen to us. That life will continue to be happy. That like Gandalf, we can instruct Joy and it will take that instruction.
But that is not in its nature.
Every time we bemoan the fact that life isn't fair, we forget that nobody, anywhere had specifically promised us that it would. When we wonder why the Universe has thrown curve-balls of random misfortune at us, we forget that it has at no point taken time out of its busy schedule of creating black holes to assure us that it works according to some rationale. It doesn't. It's the bloody Universe. It does what it wants, when it wants. And like life, it doesn't have some kind of quota of fairness to fill when it comes to us.
How else do you explain toddlers getting cancer and Salman Khan having lakhs of fans? It doesn't add up. It was never going to.
The only way to deal with all this unfairness, the random bouts of bad luck (like badly injuring my knees, which I'm still recovering from, or throwing out my back exercising and thus being unable to have alcohol on New Year's Eve) is to realise that good fortune is just as random. And completely out of your control, to be honest.
The only thing you can do is show equanimity in the face of hardship and be grateful as hell for any good luck that comes your way.
Because either way, this too shall pass.