One doesn’t realize how true this is until one has lived it:
“But as in ethics, evil is a consequence of good, so in fact, out of joy is sorrow born. Either the memory of past bliss is the anguish of today, or the agonies which are have their origin in the ecstasies which might have been.” ~Edgar Allan Poe
The memory of having lived a lifestyle of more lavish giving, even though the giving was beyond our means even then, and now to be able to give so little makes it harder because we do know otherwise. I see how the memory of past bliss is the anguish of today.
I can’t help but wonder how many people say they are tightening their belts, but they are just saying the words. How many are tightening their belts to be able to afford extras here and there, and how many are tightening their belts to simply get by?
I wonder how many people who are fortunate enough not to have to tighten their belts understand that some of the people who say they can’t afford certain luxuries really mean that? For some, it’s hard enough to say those few words as they swallow some pride. To have to go into more detail to prove that they really mean it would be humiliating. I’m sure those who don’t understand don’t intend to humiliate, though. Maybe they just think it can’t be that bad.
I guess we’ve just done a good job of hiding the fact that, yeah, it is that bad. Not bad enough to need assistance, but definitely bad enough to have to cut out almost all extras, except an occasional dinner out or trip to the theater to see a new movie. Even when those extras are afforded, they are usually deals like $5 movies with smuggled in snacks and drinks. We’re always on the lookout for fun free things to do, too.
With that said, the look of excitement on our girls’ faces when they opened the Christmas gift that revealed that we’re taking them to see Wicked in May was priceless. A true surprise! For less than an iPad or even an eReader with WiFi, four of us will experience the magic of theater that will be something we remember for a lifetime. I was so excited to give this gift, too! I couldn’t wait for them to open it!
So while that past bliss may be the anguish of today, just how much anguish we allow it to be is up to us. There will be some things that stand out more than others, naturally. But we can create a new bliss with what we have now (or the lack thereof). Sympathy is unnecessary, but empathy is appreciated.