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The facts of life

Someone recently told me that to get over your past – in a very “hakuna matata” style – you need to erase the bad memories. “Edit out the bad,” as that person put it. I disagree. Without the bad memories, the bad events, we wouldn’t be who we are today. How am I supposed to explain the well-rounded qualities of my developed character without explaining how I got there? Adversity builds character. That’s why I’m going to use two different songs to help me make this point.

The upbeat feel of the theme song to the old TV show, The Facts of Life, is made to seem friendly and to inspire familial love. It might be hard to miss its poignant message: you need the good and the bad to make it through life.

“You take the good,/ you take the bad,/ you take ‘em both and there you have/the facts of life/the facts of life.”

Life can never be as easy as forgetting the bad, though Baloo or Timon might want you to believe that. I think if you’ll re-watch those Disney classics, though, you’ll see that by the end of the film, the problems were resolved by facing them rather than running away or pretending they no longer existed.

“When the world never seems/ to be living up to your dreams/ and suddenly you’re findin’ out/ the facts of life are all about you!”

Many big, important good aspects of life, from falling in love to creating a new nation, would lose their importance or their ability to cause the feeling of happiness or ecstasy if the bad parts of life never happened. It wouldn’t be nearly as exhilarating to fall in love if your heart hadn’t at some point been broken or longing. The satisfaction of building your own country with your own standards wouldn’t be as satisfactory if you hadn’t had to struggle to get there, often losing lives and friends along the way.

“And now, I’m glad I didn’t know/The way it all would end/ The way it all would go./ Our lives are better left to chance!/I could have missed the pain/but I’d have had to miss the dance.”

The song “The Dance” by Garth Brooks also clearly shows my point that if we avoid the bad things in life, or if we completely erase them from our minds, it takes away the good that came from those events as well.

“Holding you, I held everything./For a moment, wasn’t I the king?/If I had only known how the king would fall/Hey who’s to say/I might have changed it all.”

In conclusion, a phrase I know I should never use to conclude things, as a proper journalist, those bad memories are just as important as the good ones. Feeling pain might be difficult and sloppy and hard to bear, but I’d rather feel something and be alive than feel numb and not know whether I’m human or just a ball of energy to be used in the future as a key to Hell. Even if I go through Hell feeling every bit of pain thrown at me, at least I’m still going somewhere. If I make it out the other side, I need to be able to explain why my skin is tougher over the scars.

“Yes, my life is better left to chance./I could have missed the pain/but I’d have had to miss the dance.”

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