As a romanticist, life is all about emotional value. To experience the different facets of emotion. That is what gives my life meaning. A passive, calm day gives me little to no satisfaction. This drives me to make my life as interesting as possible for myself.
Unfortunately, this belief also has a dark side. Because it’s about all emotions, including the negative ones, like suffering and pain. To me, these emotions are essential to experiencing the positive emotions.
A life without pain and suffering, a life where everything goes the way you want it sounds great at first sight. Everyone would be happy, right? I have serious doubts about that. For starters, I would have trouble sustaining such a lifestyle. If everything turns out good, the term ‘good’ loses meaning, because there is no point of reference anymore. There is no ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ anymore. And good cannot exist without it’s opposite. Sometimes things have to go horribly wrong, in order for a succesful task to be appreciated. And also, the best things in life, are difficult to come by. Mainly because these things require more effort and usually require failing over and over again.
I believe that life requires a certain balance of ‘failures’ vs ‘successes’. Something like 3:1 ratio: for every 3 successes, we need at least 1 failure. Only then my life is truly balanced.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to sustain such a balance. We don’t have full control over the number of things that work out or fail horribly. If too much failure occurs, I start to worry and become more careful. I also experience more stress during these times. But if too much goes right, I experience a different aspect of life, called melancholia.
Melancholia, the desire for sadness
While I’m typing this, my burn-out is nearly over. More and more things I do, turn out right. Unfortunately, my desire for sadness grows as well.
Quite often I find myself sitting in a bus, observing, and I feel a sudden emotion of sadness come over me. There is no logical reason for this to happen. I simply get sad, because I am being melancholic. It feels like a position of luxury, and that only makes things worse.
This troubled me for a long time, but over the years I managed to accept this part of me. Sadness is an important emotion that I require, just to give my life more meaning. Because without sadness, happiness would not mean anything.
And that’s what it’s all about, in the end, emotional value.