I woke up last week with a blinding headache, an impending exam and – after checking at the alarm clock – late for class. There was no time for breakfast or to brush my hair. I rummaged frantically around the room with one shoe on. Where was my homework? Finally with a burning coffee in hand, I sprinted like some mad giraffe down the quad. ‘Run!’ shouted a tanned, muscular man lounging on the benches as I whirled past in my sweatpants. Thanks dude.
The rest of day seemed to go steadily downhill. I rushed from class to meeting to class, the pounding headache constant. It rained and no, I did not have an umbrella. Halfway through the day I discovered my Duke Card had mysteriously disappeared. “Six cards? That’s… impressive,” commented the man at the Duke Card Office. The attractive senior who I never see around campus decided to choose that day to sit next to me at lunch, where I promptly spilt soup on his textbook. The memo I thought would take two solid hours in VDH to figure out took me a tortuous five. By the time I finally crawled into bed, I was completely done. What an absolutely awful day.
I’m always a little surprised when bad days happen. I have a strange expectation that of all things, life at least should roll pleasantly along, with the odd bump, sure. For years I’ve lived with this mindset that as long as I work hard good things will come, and consequently I’ve earned this sense of strange entitlement. I’ve come to see myself as the main character in the movie; the person who deserves the happy ending. And so when I groan about bad days, it’s secretly with some hurt. Why me? Aren’t I meant to ace that midterm and showdown that arrogant guy and scale the chapel to the mountain of Hershey kisses above? Isn’t everything supposed to work out in the end?
But I think we all know life isn’t like a box of chocolates, whatever Forrest Gump says. No matter how well planned or hardworking I am, there will always be those days where nothing goes the way I want it to. Life is crooked, crinkled, imperfect, and that’s exactly why it’s so exciting.
It’s those bad days are the ones that make the good days count. It’s worth remembering that bad days aren’t launched missiles, waiting to target us, but happen to everyone. That we’re more of an ensemble cast that works out challenges rather than individual main characters who have to win every time. There are too many bad and good times to count ahead of us, and I like not knowing which one is up next. And best of all, unlike my appetite for pitchfork tacos, bad days will end.
If you’re having a bad day, I’m sorry. Sometimes it just sucks. But this bad day today doesn’t have to become a bad week or a bad year. There’s hope because while last Thursday may have been my bad day, funnily enough last Friday was one of my best.
That however, is a story for another time...