Editorial Notebook

One cannot always be happy

After a long bout of being in a good mood, sadness is a relief

Normally, I’m a pretty positive person. I’ve been known to advocate happiness, smiling, sunshine, and rainbows. I often mention that the world should be a bright, colorful place full of good moods and silliness. But lately, I’ve come to realize that having a bad day (emotionally) might actually be a good thing.

Now, I’m not exactly normal (I’m not, though, certifiably insane), so my methods of dealing with negative emotions and a bad mood may not be the same as anyone else’s. But, I tend to shy away from others when I’m not feeling all that chipper. I sit in my room for hours and read random stories around the internet, browse Reddit, watch YouTube videos, lurk on Facebook, and blast music as loudly as my ears will let me. Instead of hanging out with friends and brothers, I keep myself company and think about the world. It’s weird. It’s lonely. But it’s what I feel compelled to do when I’m not in a great mood.

What’s even more interesting, though, is that having that kind of day can be rather cathartic. Eventually—after I’ve sat silently for maybe four or five hours—I’ll laugh at a ridiculous video. Or, maybe I’ll lip sync to a catchy song. Strangely (or maybe not so strangely; I’ll get to that), things start to look up again. And, it often leads to a peak in my mood. By peak, I mean that I end up feeling better than I’ve felt in a couple of weeks. Like I said, it’s odd.

I have ideas as to what might be the cause of this emotional slingshot of sorts. But I’m not a psychologist or a psychiatrist or an expert. I’m barely a scientist; I mean, I’m a computer scientist, but I’m not that great at what I do. My guess as to the reason would be that essentially, even the most social of people need some privacy every now and then. It might be that the brain needs some time to process all of the lights and colors that come from partying and being social.

But the real point of my notebook is to talk about the benefits of sorts that result from poor moods. The main one is related to the concept of balance. This may be an oddly philosophical statement (honestly, though, what part of this notebook isn’t philosophical in some way?), but for something to exist, its opposite also needs to. Think about it. If there was no happiness, how would you describe sadness? There isn’t a point of reference for the emotion. Nothing by which to measure it. It wouldn’t be sadness. It would just be existence. And more importantly, the exact opposite would hold true. If there was no sadness, there would be no happiness.

Basically, what I’m trying to say is that having a bad day helps you appreciate the good things in life. Maybe you don’t need to be reminded that there’s a lot to be thankful for in the world. Maybe you’re more intelligent than I am and realized that from the get go. Or maybe you’re a bit like me, and it’s taken you all of your life to realize that the bad is there to both offset the good and make the highlights of day shine just a little bit brighter.

Maybe this notebook’s a waste of time. Or maybe, it’ll help those who’ve also suffered from that blue, blue feeling that comes—you guessed it—out of the blue. And maybe—just maybe—you’ll see the good in the world. You know what they say: “Always look on the bright side of life.”