Something You Don't Want To Hear This Time Of The Year
A phrase and a graph that you probably would be upset with, and the problems of not living in the moment.
Solaced by the blessedly decorated Christmas tree, the rare yet heartwarming family gatherings and the buoyant exchange of gifts, a newsletter might seem like an intrusion that you would be better off without. As business tapers off and time adopts Usain Bolt’s spirit during this time of the year, we’d love nothing more than to cut-back on the word count and let you bask in the warmth of the holiday season.
A Story For You
Origins play a significant roles in our stories. Where? What? How? Why? When? Context is imperative, to understand the nitty gritty of a situation, to derive morals and to answer any questions that wander in the readers’ minds. It therefore becomes a choice, not an unsavory omission.
However, this time, we make an exception to the credibility of the origins of the phrase - This too shall pass.
This made for a beautiful story; authenticity and reliability aside, it touches the right chords and sometimes, that’s all we’re looking for.
In fact, it was Abraham Lincoln’s favorite saying too.
When the British still had an Empire (ruled by Queen Victoria), a rising Republican politician climbed the stage to hold a speech in the U.S. His name was Abraham Lincoln (not yet elected president, at this point. In fact, he thought that his career had been – in his own words – “a failure, a flat failure”). Addressing a large gathering of entrepreneurs and farmers in Wisconsin (1859), here is what Lincoln said:
“Some of you will be successful, and such will need but little philosophy to take them home in cheerful spirits; others will be disappointed and will be in a less happy mood. To such, let it be said, “Lay it not too much to heart.” Let them adopt the maxim, “Better luck next time;” and then, by renewed exertion, make that better luck for themselves. And by the successful, and the unsuccessful, let it be remembered, that while occasions like the present bring their sober and durable benefits, the exultations of them are but temporary (…); and that the vanquished this year, may be victor the next, in spite of all competition.
It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence, to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: “And this, too, shall pass away.” How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction! “And this, too, shall pass away.” (Credits: LeadershipWatch)
Things not going according to plan… This too shall pass.
Snowed under with mails, follow-ups and calls… This too shall pass.
Stuck in a dead-end job… This too shall pass.
Spending an amazing New Year’s with your family/friends, hoping that the night never ends… And this too shall pass.
In times of distress, the phrase provides comfort and reassurance but when life’s good and everything’s perfect, we do our best to avoid its recollection. Regardless of us saying it out loud, time eventually sweeps in and takes those moments away from you. This isn’t a sadistic attempt to dampen the mood on such a beautiful occasion; rather, it’s a way to avoid the blues after the cheerful shrieks of “Happy New Year!” fade away. Our lives are filled with moments, some that we’d like to forget, and some, that we’d want to live in forever.
This too shall pass is one way of consolidating and neutralizing ourselves to remember that everything is short-term. Grief as well as joy. Failure as well as astounding success. Sadness as well as happiness. Loneliness as well as companionship. We’re creatures of repetitions, looking for patterns, trying to live our lives at the peak, hoping that the moment freezes, every single time.
If there were no troughs in your life, it’s blatant that the constant peaks we’re trying to replicate, will eventually become a straight line. There’s no peak without troughs - it’s not possible. What makes this time of the year so memorable, is the fact that it’s only ‘this time of the year’. You can’t replicate Christmas or New Year’s in June - that defeats the purpose and it just won’t feel the same.
Moments of joy come by without you trying too hard. And moments of sorrow go by without you trying too hard as well. It’s when you realise that everything eventually sorts itself out, is when you start living, and we mean, truthfully and earnestly living in the moment.
We learnt a new word - Halcyon.
Halcyon is most often used to describe a happy and successful time in the past that is remembered as being better than today.
So, are the halcyon days of the past a recurring state?
When you’re in university, you remember how simple life in school was. When you get a job, you realize that university wasn’t that bad either. As you climb the ladder, you recollect your days as an intern and how easy it was to just learn. When you start a new company, you think about how convenient a job was: 9-5 and you could go home. The company takes off and now you’ve got an added responsibility to your team - life really looked good with a smaller team that was making a difference. And the story could go on but as some point, you stop, bewildered yet mindful, that every moment passed with one being equally good or better than the other but you appreciated it only after it had passed.
No, we’re just too consumed with the past and the future to realize that we’re living it.
To all those of you who’re currently in an unfavorable situation - This too shall pass.
To all those of you who’re currently in a favorable situation - This too shall pass.
A Story From You
Resolutions, promises, gym subscriptions, a reduction in cigarette sales and a momentary rise in productivity await our arrival on Sunday.
The year and this week ends with new beginnings from Monday (let’s be honest - no one counts the 1st day of the year in their plans).
What are you most looking forward to in the coming year?
With moments passing,