Life sucks. Then you die.
You’re right, that does sound a bit harsh. I agree. The third sentence of that saying doesn’t improve your opinion, either! “Get used to it.”
Life sucks. Then you die. Get used to it.
On the surface that sounds like the most depressing view of life anyone could have. To the contrary, for me it is a tool that reminds me of the joy and satisfaction that comes with living a good life and appreciating the goodness that comes my way.
Life sucks. There is no way to avoid the suckiness. That’s one of the tenets of Buddhism. Suffering is the human condition. There will be problems. A loved one will fall seriously ill or die. The person you thought you loved does something incredibly bad. The ignorant fair-haired boy got the promotion ahead of you. You are diagnosed with a serious, possibly fatal, disease. Most of us, specifically me, have lived through every one of those situations, and far worse.
Then you die. There’s only one way out of this life, and I’m not clear on exactly what follows. But dying is part of the plan. If you are a soldier in a war, there’s a good chance of coming home in a bag. If you drive a car, you might find yourself not driving home. If you are lucky enough to celebrate too many birthdays, some important body part will wear out. Then you die.
Get used to it. That’s the saving part of the equation! Knowing that bad things will happen gives you the opportunity to prepare for and learn how to handle disasters when they do happen. And they will. Without suffering and pain, joy and pleasure would be meaningless. With the right skills, you can turn that pain into something good. For example, you know you’ll get sick. Sometimes it takes sixty-five years to discover what it’s like to be hospitalized (I’m thinking of you, Tom). After accepting the pain and sadness that comes with serious illness, there is time to reflect on the wonders of modern medicine. In an earlier century hospitalization wouldn’t have been an option. They wouldn’t have called a specialist, they’d have called the mortician.
Get used to it. Every tough situation can be a wonderful learning experience. Funerals are one of my favorite times. Sure, they can be inconvenient, but so necessary. People come from miles around, you get reacquainted with long-lost cousins. Brothers tell stories that make everyone laugh, right after they give you a good cry. We drive home thankful for the privilege of knowing the deceased. We go on with life certain that that experience made us better people.
Life sucks, but if it doesn’t make you smile then you’ve failed. Then you die, but if your life doesn’t bring smiles to your survivors, then you failed. Get used to the inconveniences. Smile after crying. Life is full of suffering, and there are moments of pure joy. Focus your life on finding those joy filled moments, enjoy them to the fullest, and then remember them during the painful times.
Ecclesiastes 11:8 KJV
“But if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many.”