Why so Much Bad Luck?!


Our flight to Trondheim, Norway is tomorrow (I’m writing this on August 7). We wanted to visit a family we know, then head North to Lofoten Islands.

Just now, Norway released a statement, adding Switzerland to the “high-risk countries” for Coronavirus (Switzerland is still doing ok, but apparently infections have surpassed a certain threshold just now).

When does this new regulation apply? On August 8, the very day of our flight. Had we taken a flight one day earlier, we would’ve been fine, probably (and yes, we checked earlier flights but it’s not affordable).

What does this mean? We’ll have to stay in quarantine for 10 days upon arrival (somehow we have to prove that we’ll have a quarantine-safe place to stay with separate bathroom and all that jazz. We can’t really use public transport so I’m not even sure how we’ll get there). So it looks like our plans for going to Lofoten Islands have fallen through, unless some miracle happens.

An understandable reaction would be to be pissed off at the bad luck and the randomness of these regulations. Every country makes their one little rules, there’s no international alignment and collaboration, we don’t even understand this virus and keep on trusting politicians to make the right call (and usually they’ll take away our rights – but I’m not even one of those “the state is evil” guys). We’re both healthy, we’ve been checked for Coronavirus before, we don’t have symptoms, and our way of travelling is super safe (we would travel alone and sleep in our tent in no man’s land, who are we going to infect?) But yeah, that’s not going to convince them.

It’s disheartening: All the planning for the last weeks and months, the booked trains and ferries and that one hotel we booked … and the cool lightweight tent, the backpack, the sleeping bag and outdoor stuff we bought – all for nothing, crushed by this stroke of bad luck.

One day. An amazing trip ruined because we were a few hours late.

You could say we shouldn’t even be travelling in these times, and I don’t necessarily disagree. Maybe it was foolish and we thought by now the virus would be more under control.

And I’m also not claiming that this is a big deal: It isn’t. It’s a mere trifle, it’s nothing compared to real bad shit.

But it’s still painful. If I was religious I would be a little pissed at my God and stop praying to him for at least a few days. I know your ways are inscrutable, but c’mon God, stop playing with me bro.

I find this interesting: it seems we’re used to luck being on our side. To things juuust working out fine. Like the restrictions coming into place one day after we arrive in Norway.

But that’s not always the case, unfortunately. Sometimes we’re juuust unlucky. Out of 100 possible outcomes, we get the worst one. Out of billions of places where the lightning could strike, it’s our house. Out of the millions of people who could catch that terminal disease instead of us, we catch it. Out of the billions of places that bird could shit on, it’s our head.

It doesn’t feel good to be on the loser side, to draw the shit card. We want to be on the sunny side, the winner side of life, and overcome all challenges with ease and good fortune. But that’s not always how life goes.

In fact, life is a pretty unfair in this way: typically, bad luck begets more bad luck. The person who gets seriously ill will have a million other problems that come with it. The unfortunate person who gets traumatized by something terrible will have more psychological, financial and social problems down the line.

Some people just can’t catch a break.

I write about this because stuff like this is a part of life that we have to come to terms with. Life isn’t fair per se. It’s also not unfair per se. It’s just pretty random, and sometimes not in the good way. And there’s usually no “karma” to explain why shit may hit the fan.

I had to remember what Nietzsche said: Amor fati – love your fate. And like the Stoics, learn to live with whatever is out of my control (which is almost everything).

Right now, I’m trying to stay calm. Stay resourceful. Tackle new problems one at a time. Try to mitigate risks and look for ways to save the situation. Create some distance to the situation and see what you can learn from it (which is what I’m doing just now by reflecting on it).

And, most importantly: don’t lose hope and joy.

😴 What might help you find calm

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