You know those moments when you look around and you feel captured by bliss? You feel infinite and light. Pure joy. I think it might be the greatest feeling in the world, but every time I experience it, I am seized by a moment of gripping heart break just a moment later. It won’t last. And just like that infinity has disappeared, replaced with the mortality of joy. Even standing in the same place, once that recognition has struck, the nostalgia for the moment of freedom is painful, leeching on any smile I may have had.
I’ve always been captivated by the fleeting nature of happiness–how temporary it is. Even when it seems prolonged–the honeymoon phase of a new relationship. I think I must have exceeded my withdrawals of happiness, it is bound to bounce. I think about how the world owes me a tragedy to retain its equilibrium. I have always known that this philosophy is an incredibly dark and morbid way to live, or exist rather.
In fact, it sounds like the ultimate tenet of a pessimist, but I have found such hope (dare I say optimism?) in this concept. Just as bliss is fleeting, so is pain. Yes, there are moments of snot-snobbing in the fetal position, but then suddenly I stop and I think, I’m still alive. I’m still okay. Just as joy is temporary, so is melancholy. Plus, without the pain, could we appreciate the bliss?
As one of my favorite poets, John Keats, writes, “Ay, in the very temple of Delight, Veiled Melancholy has her sovran shrine.”
When I get caught up in the finite nature of happiness, I become depressed, filled with questions of purpose. Why bother if it is just going to end anyway? What is the point of anything if it all ends? I get caught in a vicious, self-fulfilling prophecy of these questions. It is true. It will end. The joy will end. But so will the pain. And as paradoxical as it sounds, the infinity will return for a moment of finite. Isn’t it the cycle of life and death, of autumn and spring, that makes life so beautiful?
I will let myself experience the euphoria. I will let myself experience the depression. Because both are temporary. It dies and it grows in the cyclical nature of life and death. The flowers bloom. They die. The seeds sprout.
Sure, my garden might be full of peonies. You know the flowers. They only bloom once a year for about a week. In fact, the flowers grow so big with their famous intoxicatingly sweet aroma, that they die from the weight of their beautiful fruition. It is tragically short life for the blooms, until you realize that they will bloom again in another 358 days.
I think my life might be like a peony. And I’m okay with that. In fact, I wouldn’t bloom any other way.