How the pandemic changed my life philosophy

Harper Dunn

I don’t believe everything happens for a reason. I used to, though; experiencing the challenges of the pandemic has changed my perspective about the popular mantra.

If someone experiences a hardship such as losing their job, and the new job they find turns out to have an even higher salary and more benefits than the one they lost, they might say that it happened for a reason. Perhaps, but what about when someone’s next job is worse and they can barely put food on the table because of it? Then what? Did they move on to a worse situation for a reason? Was that reason to worsen their quality of life?

My life has been pretty comfortable, and before quarantine, it was even more so. So whenever I got a B on a test, struck out in a softball game, or experienced any other minor inconvenience, I believed that it happened for a reason simply because things got better after that. Come sophomore year, COVID-19 caused the spring sports season and my last year of summer camp to be canceled, among other disappointments. Of course, this wasn’t the end of the world, but the pandemic definitely made the summer more difficult to get through. 

Since all of my plans were canceled, I have had plenty of time to reflect during these past months. I thought about what was going on, how devastating everything was, but most importantly, why everything was happening. I concluded that there was no rhyme or reason for anything to happen, and things out of my control are just that. There’s nothing I can do about the pandemic besides doing my part to minimize the spread. I have to focus on things that I can control. 

I won’t discount people who believe everything happens for a reason. It can be a great philosophy to live by—it encourages people to stay hopeful when they encounter setbacks in life and can calm people’s nerves about decisions they have to make. But, large obstacles don’t always turn out well. So, I would rather live trying to do everything in my power to avoid those obstacles, and when they’re unavoidable, doing things to improve the situation instead of just waiting for the problem to resolve.

I don’t think people should just expect everything to go your way or turn out okay just because of a silly saying. If believing that everything happens for a reason is going to help you get through hard times, there’s nothing wrong with keeping it in the back of your mind. But if you use it as an excuse to never do anything, it’s not going to work out in your favor.