Thank your lucky stars

Georgina Guedes

I'm a philosophical kind of person. When something bad happens to me, I try to reason through what lesson I could possibly learn from it to safeguard against the same kind of thing happening again.

This approach has served me well over the years. I've grown very good at organising interviews well in advance of deadlines, at asking the name of service consultants so that I can find them again when things go awry, at discussing, rather than assuming, that two people in a relationship want the same thing, and at always carrying a change of clothes for my toddler.

At the same time, despite what the shoo-wow brigade would have us believe, I don't think that absolutely everything happens for a reason or contrary to the told-you-soers that every unpleasant eventuality could have been avoided by careful planning.

For instance, my nanny developed a heart condition shortly after the birth of my son – oh dear! One of my clients got bought out by another company and no longer required my services – what a pity! My feet went out from under me while I was carrying my son and we had a nasty fall – Ouch!

So, while I think that self-analysis is always a good thing when something bad happens, you also just have to accept that sometimes there's no lesson to be learnt for next time.

Keep your children home!

I read an interesting article in the Huffington Post about how in the wake of last week's lunatic shooting spree in Aurora Colorado, the American public seemed to have fixated on one big question: “Why were there children at a midnight showing of a movie?”

The article suggested that people seem to think that parents who took their kids out in the middle of the night deserved what they got. If challenged, anyone implying this would naturally demur, but nonetheless, people make these kinds of comments as if this were a more a more important issue than feeling gut-wrenching empathy for those affected – whatever their bedtime policies might have been.

Sometimes bad things happen. There are lunatics out there. There are drunk drivers. There are illnesses and falling airplanes. We can't stay home and keep our loved ones swaddled in cottonwool to avoid every negative eventuality.

(Of course, in America, there is something that would help to diminish the number of deaths at the hands of lunatics with firearms, but that's another topic.)

Stuff happens

While it's good to drive at the speed limit, budget, plan, teach our children manners, keep our friends' secrets and stay loyal to our partners, life dishes up surprises that aren't always the direct consequence of our own actions.

And so when something bad happens to someone else, we should be grateful for our own blessings, rather than trying to allocate some kind of blame so that we can delude ourselves into the snug conviction that it would never happen to us.

- Georgina Guedes is a freelance writer. You can follow @georginaguedes on Twitter.

Send your comments to Georgina

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
The ANC's leadership race is heating up. Who do you think will be elected party president at Nasrec in December?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has got it in the bag
7% - 858 votes
I foresee a second term for Cyril Ramaphosa
83% - 9799 votes
Don’t discount a Zweli Mkhize win
10% - 1144 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.