Everything was going horribly.
My life was like a Greek tragedy.
I’d become that person in life that people would look at and think ‘Well, it could be worse. I could be going through what she’s going through.”
My life and its problems had become measuring tools for others to use as ways to put their own, trivial problems into perspective.
This went on for three years.
Feeling like I was treading water, with wave after wave crashing over my head. Each time I felt I could catch my breath, another wave.
And then… it stopped.
The clouds began to clear, the mental and emotional pain began to ease and the rainbows started to appear.
Rainbows bloody everywhere.
Metaphorical of course, but beautiful nonetheless.
And it seemed too good to be true.
After years of looking around every corner with trepidation, of feeling my stomach lurch at the sound of every phone call, at constantly expecting the worst because that appeared to be the pattern my life was taking, the calmness felt out of place.
Everything started going well. Great, in fact.
Slowly, the clouds lifted and the good things began to outweigh the bad.
My grief had become manageable. My place in life was where I wanted to be.
Everything was good.
So good, that it felt almost… bad? I felt anxious, worry and a sense of impending doom.
Bad because I was expecting life to be like ‘just kidding’.
Bad because when you’re feeling on a happiness high, you only have so much further to fall.
And so I wrote about it.
I’m Finally Feeling Happy. And That Terrifies Me.
“When our senses have been jammed for so long in fear mode, they are filled with dread when the alarm stops wailing.”
And then the next day (literally the very next day), I received a phone call.
It was after 9pm, and it was from my brother. I immediately knew something was wrong — I was a seasoned veteran in life-changing phone calls by this point. I knew which times posed the biggest red flags.
He was calling to say my dog had passed away. The dog I’d had since the beginning of high school.
Yes, I’d be through far worse. But losing a pet still sucks. It’s heartbreaking. A life without him? I couldn’t remember one.
And I cursed myself for jinxing everything. Everyone knows you shouldn’t loudly announce when things are going well, damn it. Don’t look happiness in the eye.
But I know I didn’t really jinx myself. My dog was 16, and he’d been on the decline for a while. It was only a matter of time.
And it’s not like life hears your exclamations of joy and goes ‘oh no, you need to be put back in your place.’
But I still felt disheartened at just how temporary I’d been granted a sense of peace.
The bad news is that happiness is temporary. The good news is that it also means sadness is too. In between all that — feelings of tiredness, anticipation, confusion and anger are all apart of the flux and flow of life.
Life is going to be full of bumps. It’s going to be full of smooth paths, steep hills and road blocks.
In juxtaposition, I recently had the best week of my life. Seriously.
And because of the lows that had come previously, I was beyond grateful.
I’ve learnt to live in the moment and be grateful for the small things.
You’ll win some, you’ll lose some and you’ll feel really bored in between.
The scales will tip in your favour, and then they won’t. Try and not waste your energy fearing what may come. You’ll deal with it when it does.
If it does.
All we can do is enjoy the journey, appreciate the calm roads, enjoy the high roads and recognise the lows aren’t a permanent state of affairs.