The Bad Will Become Your Next Great Work of Art

You made it. You are where you are for a reason. They call it overcoming adversity, but you call it your second, third, and fourth chances — your story — and after a while, you stop counting the chances, and you start listening to the music created by the raucous that is your life.

Because life is to be explored, to be sought after, to be taken by the hand — and then kicked to the curb. Life has no set outcomes or motives other than the situation in which you currently find yourself.

When you fall down, the earth can either be your enemy or your friend; it can hit you with a jarring thump, or it can catch you and cradle you, until it releases you back to your feet. When bad things happen, you come to understand that good things wait for you just around the bend. In fact, you start to notice that the good things are connected to the bad things — that they always are. You start to see that the bad things are precisely what set you up for the next big thing — that they carve out the contours of your next great work of art.

A broken heart teaches you how to mend; a betrayal teaches you how to forgive; abandonment helps you become your own best friend and tells you that the one person you have known longer than anyone in your life is yourself. And it is that epiphany that teaches you something about compassion — for yourself — but also for the other lost souls wandering the world.

You start to become suspicious of others who speak of no hardship; you become wary of those whose path has been paved with gold. You begin to sense that your perilous journey, the one that deviated from the road you first imagined for yourself has left you battered and bruised, but it has left you with something, with a story to tell. You realize that paths of gold are nothing compared to the brambles and bristles that marked your journey. You realize that the mileposts of your life have been marked by the double-edged sword of your travesties and your triumphs — and that both are equally valuable. You start to see the whole of things, where before you thought the purpose of it all was to err on the side of caution.

And you could have.

But you soon learned that your muscles atrophied on the straight and narrow for lack of the challenge, and your brain calcified for wont of imagination and adventure. The safety of the golden path soon paled in comparison to the risks and rewards of the frozen tundra and the scorching sands, to the barren landscapes that terrified you and the confounding underbrush that obscured your views of the canopy. But you learned not to care because you knew the act of not caring didn’t mean apathy; it meant freedom. It meant approaching life with an openness and wisdom that only comes from getting knocked down and, ultimately, after interminable and pointless struggle, accepting it. And it was then that you discovered that the acceptance of all the indignities was the hardest part, not the let-downs, the fights, or the embarrassments, but the acceptance.

And you rested with that thought.

You discovered that acceptance is adversity’s antidote, and you knew in your heart that, when armed with that antidote in battle, you had already won the war.