What Counts as Ruining a Life, Really? (A Totally Random Question That Has Nothing to Do With Current Events)

Photo by Pedro Gabriel Miziara.

For no particular reason, I would like to take a moment to discuss what does and does not qualify as "ruining someone's life."

Ruining a life, I would argue, involves taking whatever level of goodness exists for them at this time (career, friends, family, physical and mental wellbeing, a home, some semblance of hope for the future) and ruthlessly destroying at least two of them. Like, decimating them. Right?

Like, if you lose your home, but still have your career, community, wellbeing, and hope for the future, you are going to go through a very rough time, but your life isn't ruined.

However, if you lose your home AND your family, one could make an argument that, while you may have hope to rebuild one day, your life is pretty much ruined. But not irrevocably! You can still get your life back one day!

You'd probably have to lose at least HALF of those things to have your life be ruined for good. (Or the subject of a VERY inspirational movie about the strength of the human spirit after you experience Job-level catastrophe and still turn it around.)

On the other hand:

Probably, we can all agree that as painful as it is to be denied something you want, that is not "ruining" your life, right?

So, for a TOTALLY RANDOM EXAMPLE, let's just say you're a very successful lawyer who has worked for presidents and everything. I don't know your personal life, but let's just assume that you love your wife, your home is nice and you even have some friends and pretty good health. Maybe things are difficult sometimes, but you are generally pretty good with how things are.

Probably, being denied a spot on the Supreme Court of the United States (again, completely random and hypothetical example), couldn't be accurately described as RUINING your life, right?


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