Recently, for various reasons, I’ve been thinking a lot about middle school. Middle school was an awful time for me – as I imagine it is for many kids. Girls in the 12-14 age range reach a level of horribleness that puts medieval torture to shame. I’m not going to pretend I was the exception – I’m sure I was awful to lots of people, too – but I definitely remember being on the losing side of lots of teenage girl nastiness.
Although I don’t know what it’s like to be a boy in middle school, I’ve often joked that when I have kids, I’m going to send them away during those years. They’ll have to either live with their grandparents or go to boarding school or something, but I don’t think I can put up with middle school drama.
But recently I’ve been trying to think of things I could tell my (future, theoretical) children so that at least they wouldn’t be the offenders of awfulness at their school. The other day, I thought maybe I could explain to them the theory of karma, but in the way I like to think of it, which is based on this lifetime. I sort of think of it as a corollary of the “All the Popular Kids from High School are Fat and Unhappy at Your Ten-Year Reunion” theory. Essentially, if you’re a jerk in life, you won’t be as lucky as those who are good, kind-hearted people.
I realized today, though, that there’s a flaw in this logic. If you’re a good person, bad things can still happen to you. Bad things are equally as likely to happen to everyone, regardless of the karma they’ve built up. In the end, though, if you’ve been a good person you’ll have friends, family and people who are close to you by your side if (and when) those bad things happen. If you’ve alienated all the people in your life, though, you’ll have to go through the sadness alone. And there’s nothing worse than sadness in isolation.
So, to help me get through the tough times, I’m going to think of it that way. Karma manifests itself as the people you love, by your side when you need them the most.