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It is What it is Spanish Saying

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I have a friend here in the south of Mexico who nearly constantly ends statements and stories with the phrase, “It is what it is.” This is English for the Spanish phrase, “Es lo que es,” which is in habitual use throughout Hispanic speaking countries. The use of this phrase is only noticeable by the frequency in which it is used. Throughout the course of a night, this friend may say “It is what it is,” a dozen or more times. What is odd is that this phrase always seems to sum up what we’re talking about.

It is what it is.

I soon found myself saying “It is what it is.”

With a shrug of the shoulders added on to the tail end of it, I found this phrase oddly soothing. It seems to remove any mental weight that I’m carrying instantly. “It is what it is,” you really can’t argue with that.

When I’m not sure if someone got my joke.

It is what it is.

When my wife is pissed off at me again.

It is what it is.

When my daughter pisses her pants instead of going to the toilet because she’s too busy looking through a book.

It is what it is.

When I look at my bank account and realize that there is no way that I have enough money to get my three person family to China.

It is what it is.

When I say something that offends some intentionally uptight American.

It is what it is.

When your idea of life does not match its reality.

It is what it is.

When you no longer have power over a situation, it is what it is.

Nobody has power over the past.

It is seldom that any good comes from emotionally badgering yourself, regret, shame, and beating yourself up over minor mistakes and errors or shit that took an unexpected turn for the pisser. The past is gone, reliving its onerous aspects is to ruin the present. There is something to the Latin American “live for today, yesterday was a dream, tomorrow will never come,” way of life that becomes contagious from living here. Carrying the past into the present is to stomp on the possibilities of the future.

Es lo que es, and that’s just the way it is.

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Filed under: Culture and Society

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 76 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3053 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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