There resides in each of us a plethora of emotions capable of altering our current state of mind. These emotions are capable of pushing our day, or week, or year in an entirely different direction from that which we started on. Love, hate, anger, fear, joy, panic, guilt, envy, jealousy just to name a few. Some build slowly and sway our course gently. Others crash upon us unexpectedly forcing a drastic change in our attitude and behavior. Most of these emotions have a short-term effect and we soon roll back to our “normal” state of being. Others, though, can linger for long periods of time, taking on a life of their own within you, never allowing you to return to the “normal” you think you should be.
And, of course, as you mature and grow as a person you tend to gather these emotional memories and carry them along with you through the rest of your life. Baggage, they call it. It comes in two beautiful models. The white bag comes equipped with a large central cavity and many small pockets sewn into the sides to hold all the beneficial, good feeling emotions you’ve experienced. The love you felt towards a particular individual that has had a positive impact on your life. The joy experienced on a particularly fun day with family or friends. The kind of day where you simply didn’t want to see it come to an end knowing it was the kind of thing that would be impossible to recreate.
The black bag always hangs in tow though as well and it’s the one you hate looking inside. Of course the black bag knows this and finds ways to stick itself in front of your nose when you’re not looking. It forces you to look in, even when you know what’s tucked away inside. It’s that pang you feel when, from out of nowhere, you are struck with the memory of that guilty experience when you did something you knew was wrong but did it anyway. Or the replay of that auto accident you may have had that pops into your mind from out of nowhere, reigniting the panic you felt as that car or wild animal flashed in front of your car. It occurs in a second and it gets your heart racing for no good reason. It’s the baggage we carry and it’s always there with us.
Have you noticed that it tends to shift around as well? Sometimes that white bag is so full but feels as light as a feather. It carries us from day-to-day. We are constantly sneaking a peek in there and it works. It lifts our mood, carries us on. Makes getting through the day a breeze. Other times it is the black bag that seems to be busting at the seams. But that sucker always seems to weigh a metric ton (is a metric ton that much heavier than an U.S. ton?)!!! But that is as it should be, right? Good vs. Evil. The highs and the lows. The roller coaster of life as they say. The physical properties of lightness you feel at the top of the hill and the heaviness that weighs on you at the bottom fit perfectly with the psychological feelings that good and bad emotions play on you as well.
But the better analogy that fits these emotions is the Yin and the Yang. You see, these emotions we feel and, ultimately carry with us throughout life are not necessarily counterweights to each other. Rather, they are complimentary of each other. As we experience life and the variety of emotions that go along with it we are constantly readjusting ourselves to seek that happy middle ground. You know what I mean if you’ve lived through a life altering experience and the toll your emotions can play on you. The ease you finally feel when the emotions have died down. There is happiness in the middle. As we set about on our way through life, filling both of those bags, there is one positive to the weight we are forced to carry. Experience.
So what do you think? Am I full of bupkis? Is living in the middle too boring? Or is life better on the extremes? Does all that experience mean anything or do most of us tend to react with the same emotions to new events. Is it possible to come up with any other combination of keystrokes to invent a never before seen emoticon? These are all pressing questions.