Life is Unscripted, so Write a Good Story!


“The women whom I love and admire for their strength and grace did not get that way because sh*t worked out. They got that way because sh*t went wrong, and they handled it. They handled it in a thousand different ways on a thousand different days, but they handled it. These women are my superheroes”

Elizabeth Gilbert

I am sitting on the plane at the Raleigh Durham Airport relishing in the not so distant memories of a fantastic trip to Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and Durham. Over the past week and a half, I have celebrated with friends from graduate school, met new and inspiring people through serendipitous encounters, and received guidance on starting a business and nonprofit organization from former professors at the Nicholas School of the Environment.

My lodging plans changed suddenly on the eve of my return to home in Austin, Texas. I considered my options: crash on the couch at a friends’ crowded apartment, be thrifty and stay at a chain motel, or splurge a little and stay at a funky hotel in downtown Durham. Those who know me best probably wouldn’t be surprised that I chose the latter option. After ten or so minutes researching my options, one hotel in particular piqued my interest by the name alone: Unscripted Durham Hotel.

My intuition took over and after a couple more investigatory taps, I was on the phone with the front desk giving them my AAA member number for a discounted rate.

When I walked in the front door, I immediately knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be. The funky decor and furniture, artfully graffitied walls in the stairwell, the energy of the people as they drank their crafty cocktails, and the DJ’s jams playing on the speaker at just the right volume.

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I smiled when I was handed the plastic room key that was designed in the style of a composition notebook. There were more subtle and not so subtle “unscripted” clues sprinkled throughout the hotel, which was just the nudge I needed to start writing about a topic I’ve had on my “blogs to write” waitlist.

So here it goes…

The phrase, “Everything happens for a reason” has never really resonated with me. Mostly because I think that there is too much randomness in the universe and that there are too many horrible things that, no matter what positive things happen as a result, do not outweigh the horribleness.

A phrase that does resonate with me is “Sh*t happens.” Admittedly less romantic or encouraging, but it’s the only thing that makes sense to me because sh*t is constantly happening. Children are gunned down in schools, natural disasters tear homes and families apart, planes mysteriously fall from the sky, and cancer rears its ugly head in the best of people.

When you look back on a hardship you faced and see the goodness that grew from it, it is not because it happened for a reason. No, what I believe happened was that you took an action, you pressed on or changed course and put one foot in front of the other until you reached the goodness. You didn’t have to do those things. You could have stayed in that same place of depression or toxic habits, spinning in circles and never growing. We choose our destinies through the actions we take when sh*t hits the fan.

In other words, our lives are unscripted and we are the only author of the book. It’s up to us to live a good story!

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I shared this perspective with my sister, and she did not like it at all. She said it brings her comfort that everything happens for a reason because it takes the pressure off a little bit. If everything happens for a reason, it doesn’t really matter if we choose left instead of right.

Whether or not my perspective resonates with you, I hope you identify what it is that gives you strength to push through life’s curveballs and tragedies, and keeps your lust for life alive.

As Lana del Rey and The Weeknd melodiously sing in their song, Lust for Life, we are the masters of our own fate, captains of our own souls, so there’s no need for us to hesitate.

Categories: Inspirational, Travel

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