“You’ll never believe what happened to me!”
That’s a statement most of us have uttered at least once in our lives, as we’ve shared some story of what we think is good or bad luck. I’m no exception, and my most recent exclamation of “what happened to me” was spoken a few times yesterday… until I started thinking about things that happen TO us and things that just happen.
My conclusion (and it’s not like I didn’t already realize this)?
Most things just HAPPEN, but they don’t happen TO us.
Take yesterday. My day began with my shutting the alarm off on a yoga class morning and falling back asleep. Fortunately, I didn’t miss my class, but I didn’t have my usual grounding time. Then, as I drove to the studio, I passed a chaotic scene of at least 10 police cars and as many, if not, more emergency vehicles that were responding to a multi-car accident. That put me in the studio only 15 minutes before I was teaching. In those 15 minutes, the shopping center landscape crew came on site with their leaf blowers, mower, and edgers, largely working around the studio when my class began. The Indian flute music I was playing couldn’t drown the noise.
And this was all before 9:30am.
A few other things happened, too, such as being stuck in traffic driving from a meeting and bumping my toe against something (big ouch, but all is well!).
I found myself saying to a friend after my yoga class, “You can’t believe what’s already happened to me today!”
Then I thought about–as in REALLY thought about– what I said, and it got me thinking about those things that happen TO us, and those events that just happen.
Here’s a truth: Life happens, plain and simple.
Of the events of yesterday, I can’t say that any of them happened TO me. I overslept, and it was my fault. I wasn’t involved in the accident, thankfully, and the yard team clearly had the studio shopping center on its schedule. Traffic happens, and my toe? Well, I did that. It didn’t really happen TO me.
See where I’m going with this?
Diseases happen to people. Granted, our lifestyle choices may create disease, but it happens TO us. Pregnancies happen TO us, although it takes a natural act between a man and woman or a lab-created conception to start a pregnancy. People can be intentionally mean to us, and in my opinion, the words they say or the actions they do (or on’t do) happen TO us.
I think, though, that most things just happen, like inclement weather or traffic or work crews showing up at inconvenient (for us) times.
And, yes, the death of loved ones, be they human or fur babies, just happen. Our individual grief journeys are very real and raw, but those losses we all experience don’t happen TO us; they just happen.
Think about that the next time you are eager to tell someone, “You won’t believe what happened to me!”
The reality is life happens, and we can see ourselves as victims, or we can just go with the flow.
Let’s be very intentional with our language, and let’s stop seeing ourselves as victims. Life’s too short, and it’s beautiful, even as the world may appear to be falling apart.
Amy Walton is a multi-certified coach, Holy Yoga ambassador, writer, and speaker living in coastal Virginia. She can wiggle her nose, put her feet behind her head, and dance when no one is looking (or looking!). She holds space for every woman with whom she has the humble joy of serving. Connect with her at email@example.com.