Murphy's Law: What Can Happen, Will Happen
As a twenty-something who is moderately to severely active on (read: addicted to) social media, I’m overwhelmed daily as I scroll through infinite purportedly uplifting articles about my generation: “20 Reasons Why Your 20s are the Best Years of Your Life,” “37 Ways to Turn Into Beyoncé” or “12 Random Quotes by Taylor Swift with Accompanying Pictures That Will Make You Wish You Were Her BFFL.”
On the flipside, I’ve also seen blog posts claiming that your 20s are actually required to suck, like it’s some unwritten rite of passage. Like if those years don’t make you want to shave your head Britney-style, you aren’t doing them right.
I can tell you that as I sit here, clicking away on my smudged, now off-white, refurbished MacBook and popping dark-chocolate-covered cranberries in my mouth like there’s no tomorrow, I hope my twenties are not my best years. Just past one year out of college, still Kristen-Wiig-in-Bridesmaids level of poor but working hard to save up and gain experience, I know this isn’t it for me. If Buddy the Elf can travel through all seven levels of the Candy Cane Forest (without mouth-destroying the entire place) to find his dad in the Big Apple, I too can find my way in life.
However, just because I think an entire decade can’t be fairly categorized like a vacuum on suckage, doesn’t mean that I don’t think people’s twenties aren’t challenging in every sense of the word. I wish someone had just flat-out told me how formative these years would be: formative in the sense that I’ve developed a habit of binge-watching old episodes of Alias for girl-power inspiration. (Seriously, is there anything Jennifer Garner can’t do?)
These years will challenge your endurance. Especially in today’s world, finding a job right after college seems nearly impossible. But, like my friend told me, the straightest path is usually the most boring, because only on the winding path do you find new and exciting challenges and pursuits. I’d take the winding path any day and twice on Sundays—because who doesn’t like a Sunday stroll?
One day my co-workers and I were chatting about life in general, and they confessed that they weren’t crazy about their twenties. These two spunky women who act as my mentors on most things related to life said those years were filled with uncertainty, joy, heartbreak, their first jobs, lack of money and lots of hangovers. Hmm, sounds familiar…
“Thirty-five,” my coworker with my same quirky sense of humor suggested. “Thirty-five was the best year of my life so far. I knew where I was supposed to be, and I was happy.”
“Thirty-five was a good year,” my other coworker piped up, cheerfully. “I divorced my first husband that year!” she said while laughing.
Their candor made me realize something:
I’m willing to make all kinds of mistakes, go through countless wine nights with friends and chick-flicks, contemplate my existence and purpose in this world, and make a fool out of myself trying if that’s what being a twenty-something means, but I refuse to let that be all she wrote.
And I’m going to have a damn good time doing it! And who says you have to get everything —or anything, for that matter— perfect the first time around?
Whatever can go wrong, will. It’s what you do about it that makes all the difference.
There’s a scene in the movie Interstellar (no spoilers, I promise) that I think perfectly sums up my point. Murph and her father (played by Matthew McConaughey) are fixing a flat by the side of the road and have this exchange:
“Dad, why did you and mom name me after something that's bad?”
“Well, we didn't.”
“Murphy's law doesn't mean that something bad will happen. It means that whatever can happen, will happen.”
After seeing Interstellar in both a regular theater and in IMAX, I’ve drawn a couple conclusions: 1) despite my disappointment with his producing Man of Steel, Christopher Nolan remains atop the pedestal I’ve constructed for him; 2) Matthew McConaughey could have spoken in pig-Latin for the entirety of the nearly 3-hour film and his raspy southern drawl would have made even a rock swoon; and 3) speaking as an optimist—sometimes naïvely so—, I now love the concept of Murphy’s Law.
Whatever can happen, will happen. Doesn’t that make you hopeful?! Makes me want to do a heel click, drop everything (not literally, but with my degree of clumsiness, it’s possible), and start making things happen! No more wallowing and whining about whether I’ll find my perfect job or life; time to go out, do things, make mistakes, and most likely find life along the way.
To be clear, I said whining with an “h.” I will never stop wining. As Viola told Duke, “My favorite’s Merlot.” …That’s how that went, right?
Now, there are a lot of things I don’t know. For instance, I don’t know much biology. Don’t know much about a science book. Don’t know much about the French I took. (Kudos if you’ve figured out my song reference.) In all seriousness, I’m 23 years old. Of course I don’t know everything, even if I act like I do sometimes…
But here are the things I do know: I know myself, and I know what I love and what I find worthwhile to pursue. I know that I like my job and admire my coworkers. I know that my hair grows uncommonly fast— I mean, I feel like a Chia Pet sometimes. I know that I’m never alone. And I know that no matter how discouraged I get with my rollercoaster-esque twenties, there will always be good times ahead.
Whatever can happen, will happen. And that gives me courage.