Learn coping skills. Learn when to stop complaining. Learn when to CHILL OUT.


written by CORY MULRONEY

This week I had an epiphany.

It came to me at 8 a.m. this morning as my girlfriend discovered a rip in her new pair of tights.

“Are you fucking serious?! Sigh* You piece of shit.”

My brain was slow to reboot, but the drama continued.

“I cannot fucking believe this. Sigh* Oh my god. Sigh* Arrrgghhhh.”

Needless to say she was unhappy, and the Great War between my desire to sleep in and her calamity was over before it began. My sloth-like laziness quickly losing out to the now increasingly catastrophic situation with the tights…

“Look at this fucking hole! I just bought these. Goddammit!”

Yet, as I lay their listening to the resulting anxiety, I could not help but land upon a singular point in my apathetic realm of pillows, soft sheets and nonchalance:

Shit. Happens.

While perhaps one of the tackiest slogans born of the 1980’s to be scrawled across a T-shirt or slapped against the bumper of cousin Ted’s Ford F-250, I find the phrase to be one of the most poetic and pertinent statements I’ve come across in my 27 years of existence.

Yes, shit happens. Or as the French so eloquently put it: “C’est la vie.”

So strongly do I believe in the power of these magic words that I’ve long desired to engage in some sort of metaphysical discussion with ancient philosophical giants, such as Plato, Socrates and their buddies. Armed with this singular phrase, I believe such a word choice might put a stop to their musings and centuries of pointless wonder and religious conjecture.




PLATO: “Why are we here?”

ME: “C’est la vie.”

SOCRATES: “How did the universe come to be?”

ME: “Shit happens.”

GIRLFRIEND: “Why are these goddam tights being such a dickhead?”

ME: “Umm…”

You get the idea.

But maybe there’s some late 20-something-wisdom to impart through all of this. Shit does happen. It’s unavoidable. Now the question remains, how do we deal with it when it does? Our existence is dealt with by, yes… Existing. We deal with the problem of life by living it. But what about our everyday problems? The little ones? The bastard ones that really get us going?


Becoming stressed out, reacting dramatically and complaining relentlessly is something I’ve come across again and again in New York City. People seem to wear their stress with pride. In the urban environment it empowers them, and they might as well be thinking out loud. “I have more cortisol in my system so I’m working harder than you.”

But let’s face it. All of this cortisol is not particularly healthy for you. Aside from the noticeable short-term effects of stress, there are some unseen long term ones that may end up hurting us down the track.

Numerous scientific studies and academic journals show that the long-term effects of increased cortisol in your system may result in: impaired cognition, decreased thyroid function, and accumulation of abdominal fat (which itself has implications for cardiovascular health) and you could even find yourself developing Cushing’s Syndrome — a rare disease that comes with a whole lot of unnecessary baggage.

I know! This is scary stuff for us twenty-to-thirty-somethings. So let’s figure out a way to knock it on the head. If you can learn to develop coping mechanisms that enable you to better deal with dilemmas, then you’re ahead of the game. Here are a few ideas.


Sometimes the best way to deal with real world problems is to see the humor in them. If you can’t beat them, laugh at them. Laugh at yourself. But love yourself in the process. Every comedy and television sit-com that you know and love is made up of people who consistently fuck up or those who are always hard done by.

Louie, GIRLS, Seinfeld, Friends… These NYC favorites are full of folks living lives of imperfection. Folks who continue to battle against the odds. That’s what makes it funny. Their problems are funny, as is their pain. It’s funny because it’s real. It’s real funny.

Think of your life as a situation comedy, or better yet a black comedy. There’s nothing like a healthy dose of tragedy to keep things interesting. A hint of hardship or a dash of sadness can brighten up the most mundane existence. Hey, at least you feel alive*.


This cat’s misery is super funny.


When life gives you lemons? Eat them raw. Be tough. If life is getting you down, don’t be down. Own that shit. You’ll be fine. What’s the worst that can happen? Your partner breaks your heart? You’re broke? You get fired? You die? Shit happens. Bring it on! Figure out a solution and don’t give up because you’re a stubborn New York asshole who can handle anything. Right?


My best friend in high school always used to tell me, “With pain comes success.”

To which I would laugh… But, it really couldn’t be closer to the truth. Just look at the late Steve Jobs. He got ousted from the very company he started, but he didn’t get all bent out of shape. He stepped back, found some fresh perspective and enough motivation to return to the helm a few years later and well, you know. Shit happened.


If all else fails, find peace in spirituality. Do some yoga, develop an active approach to chilling yourself out and you’ll be less likely to sweat the small stuff.

His holiness the Dalai Lama reminds us that:

“If there is no solution to the problem, then don’t waste time worrying about it. If there is a solution to the problem, then don’t waste time worrying about it.”

Tibetan spiritual leader in-exile His Ho


What does this mean exactly? It means that you should shut the fuck up, quit whining and listen to the Dalai Lama because he has every reason to be more stressed and annoyed than you’ll ever understand. If you don’t know why, there’s a lovely little film called Seven years in Tibet starring Brad Pitt to get you caught up.

In any case, should your own leggings one day fall victim to untimely damage… Well, I’ll let you figure that one out. Just do it quietly. * Unless the problem you are dealing with is death, in which case you won’t notice much.

[images sources via thetimes, chicagonow & theblaze]