“I am not unstable, I am merely emotionally flexible”
– Random Paper Wisdom – (actual quote from Someecards)
This week I visited a friend’s birthday party, the friend who hasn’t got that much time left to live. My emotions were all over the place; I was happy to see her again, especially in surroundings that did not include hospital beds, chemo therapy and lots of overall distress, but in my heart I knew it was the last time I’d see her, which made me intensely sad.
For some reason, I’ve always believed I needed to pick a side and stick to it: be negative or be positive, but whatever it is, be it all the time.
A person can’t be happy all the time, I see that now. Neither can we be unhappy all the time. And more importantly: I wouldn’t want to be either for the rest of you, Life. I’ve tried being unhappy for nine years straight and that didn’t do me any good. It’s unhealthy to not be able to see the good things in your surroundings and only ever believe all’s bad. That’s no way to live.
But the other side of the balancing scales isn’t so great, either. Imagine always being happy and vibrant: it would cost so much energy you’d be out of it before you know it. Completely burned out, like a match. Plus, if you refuse to see the bad tidings you sometimes bring, Life, you’re not really alive, despite whatever you tell yourself. Sticking your head in the sand can work for a little while, but reality is neither always bad nor always good. It just is.
Instead of choosing a side and staying there, I think I am just going to let that choice pass. I don’t want to be a drag but I don’t want to be unrealistic, either. I just want to be human, and that means embracing both of those sides of you, Life. The good and the bad (throw in one ugly and you got yourself a movie!).
And that was exactly what my friend’s birthday party was: good and bad. So so good to see her happy and loved, and so so bad to know it’s the last time I saw her. But in the end I am merely grateful. That I get to know her, that she enjoyed her party beyond limits and that you gave her enough time to celebrate her birthday. And that I was with good friends, who felt the same mixture of grief and happiness I did.
Good and bad, we can’t have the one without the other. Thank you for making me see that and helping me to appreciate you more, Life.