The Balance

9 Nov

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been feeling down lately. It’s a multitude of things, but mainly it’s the omnipresent 20-something oh-my-God-what-am-I-doing-with-my-life blues. It’s not knowing if I want to stay in New York, but also not knowing where I want to go. It’s daydreaming at work of flying to Paris, living in Montmarte, and taking real good care of a box of window flowers. It’s all nonsense, but it still gets me down.

The problem is when I’m feeling down, I feel so low to the ground, there’s no farther down to go. I’ve always thrown my full weight into sadness. I always think of a stanza from “Elegy for Jane,” one of my favorite Theodore Roethke poems,

“Oh, when she was sad, she cast herself down into such a pure depth,
Even a father could not find her:
Scraping her cheek against straw,
Stirring the clearest water.”

That’s exactly how I feel when I’m down. To get into English major nerdery, Jane takes the action of casting herself down. She does it to herself. Yet that adjective “clearest” indicates that there’s nothing mentally wrong with her. It almost seems contemplative.

Anyways, when I’m down, I like to read blogs about how to be happy, how to cheer yourself up, how to become one of those shiny women who seem to have it together. I study Buddhism. I try so hard to find ways to be more complacent, to be at peace, to wake up every morning smiling, and return to bed at night satisfied. But don’t we all strive for happiness in one way or another? Aren’t we all in one way or another trying to become happier? I’m just more type A and obsessed with it.

Then I came across this amazing post about how to survive a personal apocalypse. I was already well aware of the whole “This too shall pass” mantra. The thing where you tell yourself that struggles will eventually subside and that happiness will happen again. But what struck me is how she mentioned that sadness will come again too. That when you’re happy, you have to accept that one day, you won’t be. It sounds so pessimistic, but to me it’s peaceful.

There’s no way to be happy all the time, and it’s not healthy to strive for that. It’s all part of the balance. It’s why I love rain so much. Rainy days have their own feel, and their own sense of quiet life. When the rain clears, and it’s sunny again, we all appreciate it more, we all feel more thankful. But without the rain, the sunny days get mundane. I’ve lived in Nevada, and I’ve experienced that phenomenon first hand. So the sad days are like that as well. They make the happy days brighter.

So in sadness, I often think how it will be over, and I will be happy soon enough. But I think in happy days, I should live with knowing that I will one day be sad, angry, frustrated. It’s all okay. It seems so simple, but it struck me as something truly important to know.

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2 Responses to “The Balance”

  1. Danguole November 9, 2012 at 11:42 pm #

    Excellent GIF.

  2. wiseone November 10, 2012 at 9:43 am #

    Make peace with uncertainty.

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