No matter how prepared you are or how well you know that there’s no need to worry, there are still situations in which you won’t be able to stop the scary-quick fluttering of your heart and the clammy perspiration that bubbles to the surface of your skin.

Panic attack! Ahh!

But hark! There’s no reason to fear! Even if things don’t go perfectly well, you’ll still come out just fine. Know why? A little something I like to call time.

Consider this: I had a really rough time as a kid, especially in middle school. I was a big geek, had terrible acne, a horrendous diet, a crew cut, glasses and a penchant for Hawaiian shirts.

Not only that, but my friends at the time got bored with me and I was unceremoniously exiled from our lunch table, leaving me without a group to sit with at lunch (a VERY big problem at the time).

I was hopelessly alone, and after a whole year of nearly endless social torment, I finally broke down to my mother who took pity on me and came to pick me up each day for the final two weeks of classes, taking me to the park next door to eat lunch and try not to think about my social stigma.

I bring this up for two reasons, and the first is that at the time, this was unquestionably the most important thing happening to me in the world. The falling out with my friends and blow to my ego had a major impact on my self-confidence level for the next several years. Second, it’s really kind of funny. I mean, really, the most tragic thing that happened to me in middle school was that I didn’t have a lunch table to sit at? Wow. Suburbia can be rough. I should start a rap career with all the angst I need to express. I’d better get some bling.

You know what? That’s the real story here. With few exceptions (death, rape, other incredibly traumatic things of that nature), absolutely every painful thing you go through will eventually be nothing more than a story to tell when drinking with your friends. Not only that, but if you’ve managed to improve your lot in life, it will be FUNNY.

Any time I find myself going through a rough patch, I try to remind myself that one day this too will just be another story to tell. It works remarkably well, and definitely helps put things in perspective.

Today’s tragedies are tomorrow’s comedies, and they always will be so long as you maintain your sense of humor and ability to keep moving forward without clinging to the past.

How do you deal with hardship? Share you story in the comment section below!

Update: April 24, 2016

I wish I would have written the thesis for this post and left the rest on the cutting-room floor.

Today’s tragedies are tomorrow’s comedies.

I’ve spoken this phrase so many times in the years since, and I didn’t even realize this is where I’d first used it.