This resonates…

Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have great sadness on earth.

— Fyodor Dostoevsky

Lessons in life

In the past I would have yearned for some form of explanation. It was for the sake of closure; it’s a marker of sorts to tell my heart that it’s time to move on. It applies to all forms of relationships I’ve had with people in the past.

But now, I know better. Closures and explanations are not usual and they depend on the sympathies as well as the whims and fancies of others. Kindness, or the good nature of men (if you will), is never in abundance. The words of an ancient Chinese philosopher never left my mind when the JC tutor uttered them on a muggy afternoon: The primary nature of men is evil.

I don’t need an explanation from you anymore. I’ll find my own closure and deal with it. The lesson learnt is expensive but extremely valuable because it pushes me another step away from being such a sentimental person. I remembered the shock on your face when I told you that happiness is transient. While I have memories of the moments we spent together (and can’t really erase them), you have unwittingly contributed more evidence to how the emotions that we held when savouring those moments are transient. Being someone who is sentimental, I can categorically say that they (the moments) were happy ones.

Emotions are transient; it’s more so for the happy ones. I believe they are to you, even if you may not be aware.

Another lesson I learnt is gratitude, which is in short supply too. When the relationship becomes more intense, the level of gratitude expressed should grow in proportion. In the past, I held onto the notion that gratitude (which may be derived, sometimes belatedly, from reflections about past events, including those sweet pleasant ones) can be a strong foundation for the relationship. With this (final) nail you hammered in this coffin that is our relationship, that notion has been disproved. Doing something nice unexpectedly for someone you care about doesn’t lead to gratitude which (I thought) will nurture love. I can now appreciate how the phrase “taken for granted” was coined.

And with women, being made the way that they are, emotions can be fleeting if they are not anchored by something else. This also applies to gratitude [1].

I am not saying that you are evil. I am not implying that you’ve been ungrateful.

It’s just that my expectations and perspectives aren’t quite on the same level as yours. Because of you, I’ve learnt to expect less and from that, do less when the next woman enters my life. Compared to how much I’ve invested[2] in us and you, she will get crumbs from me until I am sure that her emotional investment far exceeds mine[3].

Life’s not fair.

[1] This reminds me of my birthday gift (which is in the hundreds, in terms of monetary value, and was impossible to wrap it in nice, glittery paper and fastened with a pretty ribbon) to a friend some years back. I’ve a vague impression that she mumbled something when I told her about the gift. Today, the relationship has deteriorated to the extent that I believe we’re acquaintances.

[2] It’s more than just the financial aspect.

[3] This reminds of someone I gave my first kiss to. I treated her to a buffet dinner on her birthday. I bought her a cake from Awfully Chocolate. She texted me a week later on Whatsapp to say how much that dinner and gift meant to her because that “scum[4] of her ex-husband never did that for her throughout their five-year marriage.” I’ve taken more care into planning our dates than merely calling the buffet restaurant up for a reservation and buying the cake in a huff at the train station for her.

[4] In the past year, I’ve met and heard from two women who invested their emotions enough to have (regrettably, on their hindsight) married and divorced “scums”.