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Life is Seldom Fair: What Are You Going to Do About It?

Updated on February 24, 2015

Sometimes life seems unfair. It always rains the hardest on the people who deserve the sun.

— - Unknown

"It always rains the hardest..."


Why I Think Life is Unfair Right Now

This is dedicated to my in-laws.

"Why did it happen to me?" "How come I didn't get that job?" "Does it always have to be me things happen to?" Any of these things sound familiar?

It is so easy to see how unfair life can be. It is especially easy when we have just lived through a series of catastrophes or deaths in our life. I write this from current experience. My in-laws, though both aged, had their lives ended unfairly. My mother-in-law died a slow torturous death by ovarian cancer and my father-in-law, an amputee had a second leg amputated and died less than twenty-four hours after surgery, and just two months after his wife died. Unfair? It certainly feels that way. It feels as if they deserved the sun and got the rain.

Words of Advice on Living

  • Many people die with their music still in them. Why is this so? Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it, time runs out. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • I don't want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well. ~Diane Ackerman
  • The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time. ~Mark Twain
  • We are always getting ready to live but never living. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • You only live once; but if you live it right, once is enough. ~Adam Marshall
  • Don't ever save anything for a special occasion. Being alive is the special occasion. ~Author Unknown

Taking a Closer Look

My mother-in-law was eight-eight and my father-in-law was ninety. Definitely a good age to reach and though the last several years have been plagued with illness, pain, and indignity their earlier lives were rich and full. I look to the unfairness in the way they died. No one leaves this world alive but I sometimes find it so difficult to comprehend the suffering so many must experience before that end.

Dylan Thomas said, "do not go gentle into that good night." Interpretations say he was telling his father, in this poem, to fight death, not to take it 'lying down'. "That good night" is our end, death. So will we leave this world having made no imprint, having done no good deeds?

We have no choice in how or when we die, but we do have a choice in how we live. Living is not always easy and sometimes is more difficult than dying. Are you afraid? What are you afraid of, living or dying? There is no choice in dying. When the time comes or the illness takes over, you die. But what about living? There are decades before you giving you a chance to live.

Every man dies. Not every man really lives.

— ~Braveheart

Living; Fair or Unfair

Though my in-laws suffered and did not die a peaceful death, they led a good life. They had six children, twenty-two grandchildren, twenty great grandchildren and four great great grandchildren. That is a legacy unto itself, but there is more. My father-in-law was a volunteer fireman who also helped the people around him by mowing their lawns or plowing their driveways, even taking their garbage to the dump. He was also very active in his church and the VFW (Veteran's of Foreign Wars- he served in Saipan in WWII). My mother-in-law was a member of the Ladies Auxiliary of the fire department and was also very active on committees in her church. Busy people? Very. Helpful? Very. Loved? Very.

They lived their lives to the fullest. When they got older they traveled with the local senior citizens group, making more friends along the way. Their legacy lives on, will yours?

You've heard the saying, "if life gives you lemons, make lemonade"!

As you grow older, you'll find the only things you regret are the things you didn't do.

— ~Zachary Scott
Be polite to a stranger.
Be polite to a stranger.

What do you life unfair?

See results

Life Gives You Chances

Just like a budding rose, you have the chance to bloom.
Just like a budding rose, you have the chance to bloom.

Time to Live

Now is the time to live. Time to take each day and make it the wonderful present it is. I know you're busy, but everyone's busy. My in-laws were busy too but yet found time to help others and to live their lives. Do you?

Stop to say hello to a stranger, hold the door open for someone, put a dollar in the can for the local baseball team. You can be part of everything that's going on around you just by trying and showing that you care. You don't have to get a medal and even if no one knows but you, you've made life a little fairer for someone else.

You may think it is sad that you didn't get to go to college but maybe you can take some online courses if it bothers you. You can't see your old friend because she lives across the country but you can certainly write to her or email her or if you have an iPad or iPhone you could even do Facetime with her!

Maybe you don't have time to volunteer right now but you could give someone a ride on your way to work. You don't have time to work in a soup kitchen but maybe you could send them some soup. You never had children of your own but maybe you could knit some mittens for the poor children in your area who can't afford them in the winter.

What about that vacation you always wanted to take? Is there a reason you keep putting it off? I know money is tight and timing can be difficult but what are you waiting for? Are you waiting for it to be too late because you are too old or unable to travel anymore?

How about that brother of yours? You had so much fun as kids but now there isn't any time anymore. Stop making excuses and make dates to be together. Just have dinner and talk or go play some golf so you can get close again and be the brothers you once were.

I know you're sitting there thinking it's easy for her to say. True, but it can be easy for you to do if you put your mind to it.

Did you notice the picture of the hydrangea bush? It has blue flowers but there is one pink one. The pink one stands out, daring to be different. Will you be the pink hydrangea?

Pres. Kennedy....Life is Unfair

What Are You Going to do About It?

Are you going to let life knock you down? Are you going to go quietly leaving no mark for others to remember? Whether it's your children or a bunch of strangers that remember you, the remembering is what makes you live, and makes your life worthwhile.

Spend time with and helping people. Share your life and your love so that even when life is unfair you are still above it.

Copyright Tillsontitan - All Rights Reserved

All photos, unless otherwise marked are property of Tillsontitan. The use of any text or photos herein by anyone other than the author is a copyright violation.

Help Others and God Will Help You


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    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      5 years ago from New York

      Yes Deb, sometimes time is the only gift we can give and there is no reason we can't!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Exactly, Mary. There is so much that we take for granted, and think that everything will be all right until it is too late. We met make the time. We must.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      5 years ago from New York

      Ah, thank you Peg. One day at a time ... accepting all prayers and hugs happily!

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      5 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Thank you, Mary. May God bless you as you go through this. Hugs.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      5 years ago from New York

      Peg you said it so very well! We have to live through the bad to appreciate the good. Your Dad as a wise man with good words to live by.

      We are coping and each day gets easier because our burden of caring for them has been lifted.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      5 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Hello Mary,

      First, please let me offer my condolences on the loss of your Mother and Father in law. It is never easy to lose family. And their sufferings made the end so difficult. Anyone who loses someone to death can understand the disbelief, denial and anger which takes turns at overpowering our emotions as we work our way through the loss, making our way back to happy memories of the lives they lived.

      My dear departed Dad always said, "Life is short; enjoy every day while you can. Don't forget to stop and smell the roses."

      I believe we're here on this earth to experience the fair and the unfair, the good and bad, pretty and ugly, war and peace - the dichotomy of varied extremes, in order to more fully appreciate the good times and learn from the experiences. Sometimes it's hard and you are absolutely right: Life is Seldom Fair.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      5 years ago from New York

      Thank you Margaret. In this day and age we need to take inspiration from those who show it to us in their daily lives.

      Genna I loved your "invisible expiration date", how true. Good things don't wait around forever.

      Thank you Blossom, obviously I did a lot of relfection in the past few months.

      Sheila that is so true, take the time to see the good! We so often only see the bad.

      Thank you Maria my friend. Yes, it has been a long journey but I have learned much that I hope will make me a better person. I know I appreciate Larry even more ;) I can feel the warmth of your hub and so appreciate your prayers and all you've done for me.

      Oh Barb, God bless your Mom. What a wonderful sense of humor. Thank you for the quote too.

      So true Sue, we need to look at the glass half full!

      Thank you Eddy.

      And you dear Effer, thank you for being you. Yes, we share so much and I hope I can be half the person you are in adversity and life. Your joy just emenates from your writing and your comments.

      Thank you Martie. I know things are difficult in SA and keeping a bright outlook on life must be especially hard, but, it is people like you that make it a bit easier.

      Beautiful outlook Writer Fox....your faith will see you through!

      Stephanie you couldn't be more right...when is the right time? I am so glad you and your husband retired to enjoy your life and not wait.

      Thank you Bill. I hope everyone who comes to this hub reads the comments because comments like yours have added so much.

      Thank you teaches. It is teachers like you my friend, that will help lead the way.

      Thank you Jerry.

      True Gypsy...count the roses not the thorns.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      5 years ago from Daytona Beach, Florida

      As they say life is no bed of roses but you have to know how to live it the best way you can.

    • Jerry Hulse profile image

      Jerry W Hulse 

      5 years ago from Kingsport, Tennessee

      Beautiful Hub/ voted up

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      5 years ago

      So sorry for the loss of your parents-in-law. This is a post that will cause many to think about how life is valued. I believe life can be unfair at times, but it is how you handle the experience that makes life better. Blessings, dear friend.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Mary. What a great message. When our time comes we want no regrets so live everyday like it's our last. Is life fair? For many people perhaps it seems like it is not. I guess it all depends on ones approach to life. We can either sit here and sulk that life is unfair, or we can live everyday to its fullest and take what comes as a blessing.

      Great hub Mary. So sorry to hear about your in-laws.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 

      5 years ago from USA

      This is a wonderful message! Everyone sometimes has things happen that may seem unfair, but looking at all the good things in our lives puts them in perspective.

      I love the quote you included by Oliver Wendall Holmes. When my husband and I were planning for retirement in our early 50's, we decided that we would continue to live our lives to the fullest rather than saving it all for "when we retire" as some do. Too many people wait for that "right" time only to find that the right time never comes. I loved your article. Voted up and shared!

    • Writer Fox profile image

      Writer Fox 

      5 years ago from the wadi near the little river

      I'm not sure I know what a "fair" life is. I think that term is more for the world to come when justice is given by God Himself. But, in this life, each of us can be "fair" and that begins with our treatment of others. Enjoyed your article and voted up!

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      5 years ago from South Africa

      This is a thought-provoking hub and surely a reminder to all of us to grab every day and live it to its full, instead of waiting for, or worrying about, tomorrow or a specific event in the future.

      Your parents-in-law have lived life to its full. Somehow we will always nurture the wish that death was not a fait accompli in our lives.

      Thanks, tillsontitan, for this thought-provoking hub, reminding us once again how precious life really is - to live every day as hard as we can to the best of our ability.

      Hugs from SA :)

    • fpherj48 profile image


      5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Til....With similar upbringing and backgrounds, our basic attitude on life can hardly be very different, in too many ways. I read your words and they sound very familiar. I feel the emotion in your thoughts, because they have also been mine, at times.

      We all awaken each new day with another gift of opportunity to be all that we can be, do whatever possible to be a happy, helpful and whole individual. Since every one of us are connected as human beings of the same is possible to be happy & whole, only by being fully aware of our natural need for one another.........Thank you for your gift of wisdom. Up++++

    • Eiddwen profile image


      5 years ago from Wales

      A great hub Mary which will benefit many I am sure.

      Enjoy your weekend.


    • Sue Bailey profile image

      Susan Bailey 

      5 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK

      When life treats us badly on a regular basis we often get stuck in 'why me?' mode. It isn't easy to motivate oneself to action especially if you 'just know ' you're doomed to fail. People become bogged down by it all and are prone to sitting virtually motionless and waiting for the next disaster to befall them. Unfortunately they then miss out on the good things they could be experiencing and sharing with others.

    • barbat79 profile image

      B A Tobin 

      5 years ago from Connnecticut

      Mary, "ain't it the truth!" I am sorry for your loss. But we never really lose our loved ones, in a sense. In reality I will share a funny true story about my mom...on her deathbed she garble out a few words, my sister asked her to repeat it. She said, "This death thing...I didn't sign up for this!" My sister laughed a bit and said, "Mom, but we all did the day we were born!" Bitter sweet truths in life. ah well thank you for the good read!

      Ever read Moby Dick? The best description of life is in his metaphor of dealing with the storm on water.

      .."need not be true, nor just, nor kind. It is you who must stay true to the storm (life). It is not an exact quote but the words rose off the page for me.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 

      5 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Your message is inspirational and wise. Your journey these last months has made you stronger and more resilient than you may have even realized you were capable of...

      My thoughts and prayers and with you and your hubby...I am sad for you but happy that two loved ones have rejoined in heaven. Hugs and a peaceful weekend, dear friend. Love, Maria

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      To paraphrase a line from The Lord of the Rings: We don't know how much time we'll have. What matters is what we do with the time we've been given. I think that sums up life. Sure, it seems so unfair at times, but we should take the time to see the good. We need to take the bad times and make something good come from the lessons we've learned. Maybe that's easier said than done, but it's how I try to live my life.

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 

      5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      At least your in-laws are at peace and together now and all that pain is past. I love that quote by Diane Ackerman, it's so true. You have done quite a bit of research to put this hub together and it is a lovely tribute to a couple you obviously loved dearly.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      I was sorry to hear of the pain and suffering that your in-laws endured before they passed. But they lived very full lives.

      “We have no choice in how or when we die, but we do have a choice in how we live.” This is soo true, Mary. We cannot control the fates that wait around the corner. But there are things we can do to change within ourselves; how we react to the curves that life throws at us at times.

      The point is to recognize the opportunities that life gives us, and to understand that these gifts do not present themselves every day. There is an invisible expiration date.

      Wonderful hub, Mary! :-)

    • mperrottet profile image

      Margaret Perrottet 

      5 years ago from San Antonio, FL

      Mary - I'm so sorry to hear about your in-laws. They sound like remarkable people, and I thank you for this lovely article that you've dedicated to them. Life does so often seem unfair, and I know how painful it can be to watch our loved ones suffer, especially the ones like your in-laws who helped other all their lives. I know this tribute to them will be an inspiration to all of us to live our lives fully by loving and caring for others along the way.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      5 years ago from New York

      Thank you Bill. I know you've conveyed this message as well. It is at times like these that we really stop, think, and take stock. May you never, ever feel cheated. Thank you again my friend.

      Bob, your comment made me chuckle, no long term plans in our future eh? Short term goals and living life the best way possible filled with love and laughter.

      Joe, I do try to practice what I preach. Each day is certainly a "present" to us and it is up to us how we use it. I know you are part of the choir but every voice is necessary to make that beautiful sound! I'm sure your children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and more will learn much from a wise soul who's lived through the BB generation! Blessings.

      DDE, you are so right. We should never take anything for granted, and I try not to, especially you and my other friends here on HP.

      WND, thank you. One step at a time, one day at a time.

      Mary your sunny outlook is always a pleasure to read about. I know you are an example to all of us.

      Kathryn, I love your comment. Thank you for the thoughts.

      Suzette I appreciate your thoughts. It's been a rough time but we know they will live on in our memories.

      Thank you Jodah. I am sorry you had to experience that too but as you say, "make the most the best you can"!

      Thank you Frank. I would have to say this hub was a bit cathartic. Looking at their good adds to the memories and eases the pain. My thanks go to you for your support and being here.

      MH, you are such a total inspiration to all of us. There are some here on HP that just shine above the rest with qualities we strive to have. God Bless.

      Flourish your mother was so very right. We have our ups and downs but it is good to forget the downs and revel in the ups.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      5 years ago from USA

      My mother taught me when I was very young that life is unfair and just get over it. That lesson has stayed with me as I triumphed as well as failed in different ways, as life was unduly generous and cruel. I LOVE the message you convey here. The quotes are fantastic, the images beautiful.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      5 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. My wife, who I met at 16, has died. I have become handicapped. I am losing the use of my body. But my life was fantastic! A dream... Fair... ? Worth my suffering? YES!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      5 years ago from Shelton

      I am sorry for your losses.. but life is designed to be difficult, death is easy... but memories help... and if you can keep and share memories that's key, but your hub helps with its touching soft feel even though their deaths were .. painful thank you for sharing this hub..however difficult or not .. I still say thank you Frank

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      5 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Hi Mary,

      Sorry about your in-laws suffering, but as you say their lives were full and worthwhile. My own parents died within a year of each other, and at the time life seemed unfair to me, but it goes on, and you have to live it, not waste it moping about how unfair everything is. It could always be worse, so make the most of it as best you can. Touching hub with a lesson for us all.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 

      5 years ago from Taos, NM

      I, too am saddened that your inlaws had such painful deaths, but your article is quite inspiring. I love the quotes you included in this article. Thanks for sharing you thoughts with us .

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image


      5 years ago from Windsor, Connecticut

      This is beautiful! Life seems unfair at times, but I like how you turn it around. There are always things that we can do, and should do while we can. I also like the quotes you provided, as well as the pretty photos.

      Voted up and sharing! Have a great night.

      ~ Kathryn

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      5 years ago from Florida

      This is a beautiful Hub in so many ways. No, I don't think life is unfair: life is what we make it. We can be negative or positive. I choose to be positive and count my blessings.

      Voted UP and shared all around.

    • wetnosedogs profile image


      5 years ago from Alabama

      I am sorry to hear of your losses.

      Be strong, drive yourself forward.

      We just have to start over sometimes.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      5 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Life is Seldom Fair: What Are You Going to Do About It? Life is what you make of it and as one gets older they have many thoughts go through their minds but they can't fix it all. One shouldn't take life for granted instead appreciate the little things more and smile more each day and look at life in the more positive way. Great hub and and encouraging thought too

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 

      5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      In recent years, I have come to understand and fully appreciate the core message of your Hub, Mary. You're preaching to a choir that never tires of hearing the sermon. Thank you so much for reminding me of one of the best life sermons I can live and exemplify for my children, grandchildren, and future great-children. Aloha and blessings to you, a dear friend who truly practices what she preaches.


    • diogenes profile image


      5 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Hi Tilly: A provoking article. Many us us feel guilty for so much and it is hard to sometimes forgive oneself for all the family disruptions; marriage failures; lack of real material success and all the rest. Most of our lives are behind us and long-term planning now is a waste of time. Short term goals; holidays, good restaurants and to enjoy each day with all the tiny challenges...

      It's the lucky person who, as the twilight descends, can at least say. "Well, I did live it the best way I could."

      Bob xo

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      That was something you simply did not say around our household when I was growing up. Whining about the unfairness of it all would get me instant dirty looks or worse. I've written about this is just life. The good and the bad is all rolled up in one big package, and we don't get to choose which portion of that package we get....we get it all.

      Of course I'm sorry for your loss; you know that...but....your message is right on, Mary! Live the hell out of life so that when our time comes we don't look back and feel cheated. :)



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