Up until about a couple years ago, shamefully late in life, I realized that life does not need to be tragic. Some lives can be lived without event, without drama, without a tragic twist to an otherwise peaceful, good life. There are people that are born, grow up, meet someone, marry, and die at 87 without the slightest bit of disaster. Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying there are people who never experience pain, or loss, or suffering. We all experience that to different degrees. What I am talking about is the love addict’s natural inclination to believe that life, and love in particular, is “tragic.”
Our belief in tragedy (drama, omens, symbols) comes from the way we were raised, the movies we watched or the books we read. And since most love addicts are prone to fantasy, it’s no surprise that we begin to believe that tragedy is a natural part of life. When every dramatic movie has a tragic element, it’s hard not to start to think that real life must be the same. And yet, it’s not.
Being a literature major, didn’t help. After having read things like Wuthering Heights, Romeo and Juliet, Tropic of Cancer, The Sheltering Sky, Madame Bovary, The Red and The Black, how could I want anything less than that same amount of passion for my own life? There was a bitter sweetness to the utter bliss of having found someone, and the agony of knowing I would lose them. In fact, at certain points in my life, I was proud that my life was so tragic. I was, after all, an artist. And an artist must live a tragic life.
The trouble is, when I recovered and wanted to live my life without all that drama (and art!), and find a stable, healthy relationship, I maintained an enormous sense of mistrust for the universe. I found myself struggling to be fully “happy” and comfortable in my new relationship. In my mind, lurking around the corner, was tragedy disguised as a “perfect life.” And so, I was filled for years with anxiety. The constant fear that it was only a matter of time before tragedy would strike and my love would be struck down and taken from me kept me anxious, worried, afraid. I mean heck, I was only preparing for the inevitable, right?
Life can indeed be tragic. But, depending on your perspective, and circumstances, it can also be a story with no point. It can be simple. It can be complex, but manageable. It can be average, but exciting. It can be filled with adventure, but that doesn’t mean it will follow a Hollywood script that demands a tragedy in order to propel the plot. Most important it can peaceful. But that peace, depends on you. Quit dragging drama and tragedy into the story line. Life will throw you some pretty painful and hard to handle events. But there’s nothing ironic about that. And there’s no need to read into every red cardinal that lands on your sill. She’s not bringing you any warning of disaster. She’s looking for food. Boring, any yet, beautiful.