Monday, October 19, 2009

Sweet Relief

It's priceless, that feeling you get when a potential tragedy turns out to be an innocuous nothing. When you start down the path of fear, tension rising in your gut, scenarios and their likely damages playing out like smothering narratives in your head, and then...relief. Whatever you were getting worked up about turns out to be wrong, misguided, or just infinitely smaller in scale than you'd imagined. It's cliche, but it's truly like a weight is lifted off of you, like the person stepping on your chest wandered off to find something more interesting to stand on. It's a warm feeling, but one impossible without the initial fright to console.

Which begs the question, which is better...feeling the relief from an imagined but unjustified scare, or never feeling that fear in the first place? I'd argue neither is better. It's the end that's important. In both cases you're happy, either because your happiness was never temporarily compromised by fear, or because you're relieved to have narrowly escaped whatever it is you imagined you almost didn't narrowly escape. In both cases life has worked out for you.

So whatever. Sometimes people get scared, and when they do it's fine to enjoy the relief that hopefully follows. And generally, given enough time, that relief will come.

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