I mentioned this exactly in my original post because I am not looking for shouganai here. I know of it but it carries a different meaning. it usually carries the connotation that something, usually bad, is accepted as nothing can be done. the way things are is more neutral in this sense.
I didn´t find many hits of native uses of this while googling around.
浮世の習い is what I would go with as a general expression for that sentiment. Not that I recall encountering it myself. So while the sentiment seems applicable, I don´t know how uncommon it is. So it may still be awkward to use in practice.
To be honest, whilst not explicit in the phrasing (or the definition you quote) I would argue that “it’s just the way things are” is not actually neutral in normal usage. I think in most case it would be used in a mood of acceptance, to say you can’t change or worry about something which is less than ideal. So carrying a similar level of negative connotation as 仕方がない.
I can also see it being said in exasperation to a child who keeps asking why (“but why is the sky blue?” “It is just TWTA.”), or to possibly to reinforce social or other norms (“but why can’t boys wear dresses?” “They just can’t, it is just TWTA”) and even in that case I’d say it carried a sense of social conservatism, hence my example.
thanks, but I don’t agree with those points. saying something with emotion or intonation doesn’t change the original connotation. the meaning changes because of the emotion behind those words. the way things are is an entirely neutral statement in it’s own. like you said, the sky is blue is just how things are. if that’s a positive thing (someone likes blue) or a negative (someone hates blue) is up for personal preference. a negative connotation would be “the sky is blue, it can’t be helped” which admits defeat or acceptance of something that is different from what someone hoped for.
PS. boys can totally wear dresses if they want, it’s up to them.
Thanks, I take your point, and I agree that tone of delivery and connotations of words are different. That said I think words and phrases also have a typical usage, which has an impact on how they are understood. Typically I see TTWTA used in a certain way, so it would be surprising to see it used in a positive sense, that could be effective, or it could be jarring depending.
P.S. on boys and dresses I couldn’t agree more, but it illustrates my wider point. I can’t imagine someone saying “boys can wear dresses TTWTA”, because it clearly goes against a lot of unwritten social norms, you wouldn’t say TTWTA, unless you were describing and relying on apparently “normal” practice. That’s why I don’t think it is a neutral phrase.