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.)
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.
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