IT COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE
such is life and life is such and after all it isn’t much
first a cradle then a hearse
It might have been better but it could have been worse —Norman Wisdom
we focus so heavily on how much better it could have been. how much better we could have been. how much better they could have been. and it (whatever it is) could have always been better.
and it could have always been worse. it’s difficult to realize the other outcome options when you’re in it. There are happenings in my life that I struggle to rationalize how they could have gone worse. many of which focus around my family, that is the family i grew up with. the family that gave me life. the family i have essentially been estranged from for a decade. that could be worse, sure. death would make that worse. but wait. during that decade there has been death. first, my grandfather, and then my mother. all surrounded by circumstances that add considerably to the worse-ness that defines them. ugh. one foot in front of the other, two feet on the ground. these are the only things that get things moving forward. and that could be worse, and it has been.
to think that terrible, heart-wrenching, soul-altering happenings could have been worse is to wonder how survival is likely and apparent. but survival is what happens and ah, this too, shall pass. my mother used to say that. and she was right. it (whatever it is), passes. it doesn’t necessarily get better or get easier or make more sense, it just means that it passes and new eventually a new ‘it’ fills in. we can just hope that this one is better and how much worse it could have been doesn’t even hit our radar.
so, although it could have been better and it could have been worse, it was what it was, it is what it is. to dwell on what it could have been is to avoid what it was, what it is. to fixate on what could have been is to disconnect from what is and there is great loss in that.
instead of fixating on what could have been and how it could have been, productivity dictates that we focus on what is. until our happenings enter the realm of hindsight, we will never know how much worse or how much better they really could have been.
instead, maybe we should accept that all the its that pepper our lives are temporary. it matters not how much better or how much worse they could be because they don’t last. the very temporary-ness of them allows us the moment to rejoice or to wallow and to pick up and get ready for the next it that overcomes us, whether it be in its best or its worst form and us the same.
if we remember that it is temporary and believe that it is exactly as it should be, then perhaps we will reach the point where better or worse will not take up the space from what is.
Here’s more on the Creative Writing Challenge