Editorial Notebook

Phoenixes live on inside everyone

Ruminations yield uplifting thoughts on a bad day

I’m a pretty happy-go-lucky and outgoing person. People who know me can hear my laugh a mile away, and friends tell me that I make their days. It gives me great joy knowing that I gave someone a smile to call their own. But occasionally, times get the best of me. We try so hard to stay cheerful, though mud gets thrown in our faces. It just hits us at the most inopportune moments; however, that’s what life’s all about. We need this rollercoaster to hit the bottom of the loop if we want to get back up again. Otherwise, there is no difference between good and bad times.

Now, I’m not saying that bad times are easy to deal with. It could be that one exam grade or that breakup that puts you over the edge. We’ve all been there. But, on the bright side, everyone has some kind of coping mechanism, something that they find solace in during tough times. For example, one of my friends codes on rainy days and another loves to bake her sorrows away. Additionally, a lot of people like to go running to let it all out. Me? Well, I guess I’m pretty normal. I sit and think about weird things.

A few days ago, I was mulling over some typical topics. I contemplated our expansive, infinite universe, the serenity of birds flying high in the azure ocean above, oddities of mythology. How are there so many eyes peering down at us from the night sky? Why do birds seem so at peace swimming in the clouds? The Greeks had to have been on more than just wine to create all those godly figures and tales! But, wandering thoughts aside, one little figure caught my mind’s eye: the phoenix.

The phoenix is a mystical figure that has its origins in Greek mythology. It is an elegant bird with a vibrant, rainbow-hued wingspan and fearsome, piercing visage. This idea of a phoenix exists in other cultures as well, with analogues in other European and Asian cultures. The one trait, however, that sets the Greek phoenix apart, is its Methuselah-like life span: five hundred to a thousand years long. But,the phoenix is actually immortal, reborn after each of its deaths, from the ashes of its past life.

For this reason, the phoenix is known as the harbinger of resurrection. When I first hit upon the idea of the phoenix, I dismissed it and moved on to other topics. But I gave it another take. I thought, “Phoenixes bounce back after death. They rise from their despondent, black ashes and begin life anew.” I thought that this was particularly symbolic. I was trudging through dark, sorry ashes, at the moment. But what gave me hope was knowing that I would soon experience a period of renewal and arise with newfound passion and energetic feelings.

Maybe phoenixes actually do exist, in each and every one of us. I surely do believe this. This metaphor is what got me back on the lift hill to the top. We all go through these cycles in our life, and each time we are going through a bad spot, our flame is burning out. But we fear not, for we know that the phoenixes inside of us all will hatch from the coals and feel ever greater revitalization.