I have this little thing that is known, affectionately, as “roller coaster emotions.” You know when you’re on a roller coaster, tick-tick-ticking up to the highest point? And once you reach the peak, you pause for a second before plummeting down? That’s a pretty solid metaphor for my feels. Life is ticking along, getting more and more exciting by the day. Then, suddenly — the top! Everything’s amazing! I can conquer the world, the laundry, the social outings, all of it! That three second pause at the top of the hill is what I live for. And every single time I reach it, I forget that the ride doesn’t stop there. Once I’m comfortable, once I’m convinced nothing will ever, ever knock me off my top spot, we start to fall. We don’t tick-tick down, like we did on the way up. We just drop. And sometimes the fast descent feels impossibly longer than the slow climb.
My loving husband often tries to remind me about these swings when I’m on the good side of things. When I’ve got a little mania glittering in my eyeballs and I’m cheerfully on my tenth load of laundry for the day. Hey! Thanks for the heads up, man! Is that the thing I say?
No. No, it is not.
I say/scream/wail/sob/dramatically whisper “WHY DON’T YOU WANT ME TO BE HAPPY?”
I’m a delight. I promise.
Here’s the thing. I love feeling great. Who doesn’t? I don’t want to lose the great. I know I will, but why would I want to be reminded that it’s coming? When I’m in the thralls of the not-so-great, it already feels like it will never end. Why can’t I just enjoy the goodness while it’s around?
Do you want to know a secret, though? (Of course you do. That’s why you’re here.) I think I know why Jason loves reminding me that my high mountaintop moments don’t last forever. Because the lows don’t last forever, either.
The lows don’t last forever either.
Most of my major life lessons come from musicals, so before I leave, I’m going to quote one of my (raunchy but amazing) favorites: Avenue Q.
Nothing lasts, life goes on
Full of surprises
You’ll be faced with problems of all shapes and sizes
You’re going to have to make a few compromises
For now we’re healthy
For now we’re employed
For now we’re happy — if not overjoyed
And we’ll accept the things we cannot avoid
The high-highs don’t last, but the low-lows don’t either. To me, that’s more than comforting. An event, a day, a mood does not define us. As we ride the emotion roller coaster up and down and again and again, I think we can all take a little solace in knowing that the ride doesn’t stop unless we let it. And with friends, with therapy, with medicine, with age, we can start to make the course just slightly more balanced.
Don’t stress – relax – let life roll off your backs
Except for death and paying taxes,
Everything in life is only for now.