"Who says life is fair, where is that written?" - William Goldman, The Princess Bride

Whether life is fair to us seems to be a quite the crapshoot: sometimes we happen to stumble upon what we want and need, and sometimes we find ourselves stuck. As much as I'd want to say that things will turn out for good people, and that bad times will necessarily turn around, that's not always true — the world owes you absolutely nothing, and no one is there to even out your circumstances. The world isn't against you, nor is it for you. Thinking otherwise simply leaves us resentful for all the wrong reasons.

All that happens to us is really a combination of luck and some decisions on our part that lead us in that direction. We tend to think good things happen because we made them happen, or that they're meant to happen, and that bad things happen out of luck — in actuality, the reasons why things happen aren't divided based on whether we think they're good or bad.

For example, it's nice to think that you met your partner because it was meant to happen and that you deserve to be together. On the other hand, it's uncomfortable to think that your paths could only have crossed at this exact time and place for reasons that are difficult to piece apart, most of them based in chance.

There were also many very right decisions you likely made to take advantage of that chance (i.e. you showed them you're right for them.) But any tiny shift in your timeline could mean that all that you've been through together never would have happened. Everything had to happen as it did to lead you up to this point--all of the good and bad and in-between--if you subscribe to the ideas of the Butterfly Effect, in which the flap of a butterfly's wings leads to a hurricane, in a rather extreme example.

The notion of fairness itself depends on the stark division of events into good and bad, and whether you as a person think you deserve good or bad. In the grand scheme of life, it's even hard to tell what's fair and what's not fair. On a personal level, I've experienced a significant deal of hardship that I'd rather not have experienced, but all of that led up to my life as it is now--there's so much good that came out of bad, but also so much bad that came out of good. In fact, I can trace back my romantic history over the past two years to a decision as small as walking into one building instead of another, as minuscule a decision as that seems in the moment. So much came out of that little choice.

"It's probably my job to tell you life isn't fair, but I figure you already know that. So instead, I'll tell you that hope is precious, and you're right not to give up." - C.J. Redwine, Defiance

Of course, we all need to reduce hardship the best we can and hardship cannot be justified by current circumstances--it's simply that the trajectory of life is so unpredictable and dismissive of our constructions of good and bad. One of the biggest issues is when we see ourselves as victims of the world, as opposed to survivors, and we blame who/what we think is supposed to take responsibility for moving forward in life. Of course, we're allowed to blame those who wrong us, but we can't expect them or anyone else to make it all better.

We can continue to make decisions that we hope lead us in the right direction, wherever that may be, but there's an eternal push and pull between us and the rest of the world in terms of what happens. This isn't an argument for hopelessness. We should hope that we can sway our lives in the right direction, we should hope that the good will outweigh the bad, we should hope that the bad will lead to good and good to more good, but life has no guarantees with so many forces at play. Sheer force of will can push us far, but there is also so much beyond our control that lets us forgive ourselves when life cheats us. Keep pushing yourself, but remember that the world will also continue to push you in different directions.