When people complain that life isn’t fair, I don’t think they’re always talking about equality. It’s not always a comparison between what I have and what you have. I think, when someone says, “this isn’t fair,” they’re talking about opportunities taken, missed, succeeded and failed. They’re talking about hard work never seeming to make a difference – at least not within the realm of instant gratification everyone seems to be hanging out in right now.
I’ve written this phrase in my journal at least five times this week. “It’s not fair.” Because it isn’t. You’ve had the same thought, I’m sure, dozens of times if not more this year. It’s not fair that you work so hard, or that you don’t have all the opportunities you wish you had. It’s not fair that you’ve gotten 20 rejections and none of them bothered to explain why you didn’t get picked.
It’s not fair that you chose to be a writer, hoping you could prove everyone wrong who silently thought about how you were going to fail and change your mind, only to realize despite the fact that you refuse to quit, it’s so much harder than you thought it would be. And you went in knowing it would be hard. Just … not this impossible.
It’s not fair that your words appear online or in print like invisible ink no one else bothers to take the time to decipher. It’s not fair that you LITERALLY CAN’T TRY ANY HARDER THAN YOU ALREADY ARE.
Or that you can’t try very hard anymore, because you’re just so dang tired of trying.
It’s not fair. It’s just not fair.
But since when has life ever been fair? You aren’t always going to get exactly what you want. And even when you do, you’re going to find that it will never satisfy you as much as you originally thought it would. Expecting life to be fair, expecting things to always turn out the way you planned, is like saying you want the most out of life without ever doing a single thing to build the life you want.
Life isn’t fair. Which is exactly why so many writers are struggling right now to pick themselves up from their disappointment and failure and get on with their lives.
Life isn’t fair. Which is exactly why you have to get up and keep moving anyway. No matter how much it hurts. No matter how discouraging it might feel to drag yourself through more writing, not knowing whether or not it’s ever going to matter.
You’re going to write a lot of things you’ll never submit. You’re going to submit a lot of things people will reject. It’s not fair. Which is exactly why you should keep trying.
It’s OK to complain, alone in your room with the blinds closed and nobody else around, that this just isn’t fair. As long as you keep pushing through it. One way or another, we are all eventually rewarded for what we earn. Hard work may not always get you exactly what you want, when and where you want it. But it will get you something. As long as you do it with good intentions, honestly, without taking any shortcuts or pushing other people down as you go. As long as you do your honest best, you will end up somewhere better than where you are now. And that’s something.
It may not always be fair. But when you can’t change the way things are, you have to change the way you react to them – emotionally as well as physically. DO something. Anything. Be as optimistic as you can be without being a jerk. Write. If it’s what you want, you’ll find a way. Keep going. And best of luck to all.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.