Life Is Beautiful, But We Need The Hard Times To Remember That
“I suppose in the end, the whole of life becomes an act of letting go, but what always hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye.”
-Yann Martel, Life of Pi
(This was originally written in November of 2016. I thought it would be cool to re-publish it and look back on how I used to feel)
I’m confused about my life lately. Plotlines I thought might play out for months or even years have recently fizzled out at a moment’s notice. Much too soon.
I woke up to my dog’s death the other day, and I don’t think it’s quite hit me yet. I still think I’m about to see her come around the corner again. Maybe that’s me just suppressing something.
There’s a girl I was interested in for a while but I just realized in an instant my life was heading in an opposite direction. Why couldn’t I just notice this before?
Then there are those friends that tell me one thing while acting another. Talking a big game while not showing up when the lights come on. I’m letting go of them, too.
I’m headed into a long winter here in the Northeast United States. Every day the darkness closes in around me as things keep changing and leaving me. What a sad way to think about things, but I have to write what I feel.
What do I make of all this change, though — all this darkness?
There’s a great quote in one of my favorite plays that goes like this:
“Oh, if life were made of moments
Even now and then a bad one!
But if life were only moments
Then you’d never know you had one”
-Into The Woods
These lines get to a crucial truth about life that most of us forget about. What it means is that if there weren’t dark moments in our lives, we wouldn’t appreciate the good ones.
This past weekend I saw some old friends in Las Vegas. We head out there every year to hash out the past memories while making glorious new ones. We rented a limo and went to some clubs and strolled around laughing for 36 straight hours.
It’s hard to put my finger on why I feel so much joy when I see my best friends again. Maybe it’s because our heads try to shield our hearts from the off-chance that our friends aren’t going to show up and that this world really does suck and they’re all just going to laugh at us and say “Look! We got him, too!”
But then when that door does open and you do see them again your heart realizes that the worst lies about life are just that, and that despite what we see on the news, or hear from fake people, or were taught growing up, that this world is a good one.
There are people that love us here. We can stare up at the stars with a heart full of hope for our time on this rock in the middle of the galaxy. We are loved.
I wonder why my life has been so rocky lately. I wonder why my friends have treated me badly and why I’ve treated other people badly. I think about why I don’t listen to my friends more.
Then it hits me.
We need the bad times as much as the good. We need the times when we stare up at the cloudy night sky in order to appreciate the nights when we do see the stars shining through.
I guess the questions we have now make the answers so satisfying later.
The confusion I feel now about my life is just going to make things sweeter later on. And, in turn, any unintentional harm I inflict on others could do the same things for them as well.
This life is a wild one. Too often we have bad days and broken hearts, but every now and then we get to go to Vegas for a glorious couple of hours. It’s those moments that I live for, as well as the people that share those moments with me.
“At times the world may seem an unfriendly and sinister place, but believe that there is much more good in it than bad. All you have to do is look hard enough. and what might seem to be a series of unfortunate events may in fact be the first steps of a journey.”
-Lemony Snicket, A Series of Unfortunate Events