Whenever I hear someone saying they’re glad they had a disabled kid, or got breast cancer, I think, really? So if there was a pill that gave you cancer, say, you’d take it – just to experience the thrills that only a life-threatening disease can provide? Right.
And yet. Happiness is a bright yellow silk dress, dancing on the stairs to Leo Sayer’s Long Tall Glasses, walking through the mall with my arm around my son, seeing the sea for the first time each summer.
Richness, now, that’s something else – finding my lover tucked up with someone else, camping on a lonely Welsh hillside in the rain, lying in a bloodstained nightdress with my newborn in the crook of my arm, fighting for my life in a French forest, being responsible for the death of another living creature.
Like everyone else I aim for happiness but what I get is..frigging richness! Richness can only be enjoyed, if that’s the word, in hindsight. We look back and we think, well, I didn’t like it at the time, but it helped me grow, or learn, or some damn thing. So je ne regrette rien, much.
But you know what? Hindsight is all we have. We’re always a moment behind the moment – our eyes take in the world, then our brains interpret it and feed it back to us in a form we can make sense of. Our internal Board of Censors only lets us see (and hear, and taste, and feel) what’s best for us. Best according to the committee, that is – not necessarily according to you.
So much as I’d like to, I can’t live ‘in the present’. All I can do is try my best to enjoy the past. So…what’s your most treasured unpleasant experience?