Is life an accumulation of anguish?

This is the question of a pessimist. Surely life is what you make it and thus is only full of anguish if you allow it to be? Life is precious and short and to those of us who are blessed with life and still have a life, it is incumbent upon us to live it, feel it and make the most of it. For some the sun may never rise again – witness the recent tragic suicide of Gary Speed.

It can at times appear as though life is merely an accumulation of anguish. We have all been there. Anguish is an engulfing, ebony black hole which envelops us. It is a downwards spiral. Life is touched and tainted by tragedy on both personal and universal levels and with tragedy comes anguish. The death of a young friend who had so much left to give. Yet arguably there are some souls who are simply too special to be kept from heaven. The ongoing conflict in the Middle East and any form of war is all a form of anguish and an unbelievable waste of life. The latter is greatly associated with anguish for war is demonstrative of our human inability to learn from our mistakes of the past.

War is hell and sheer waste and this is what fills the majority of rational people with anguish and anger. Still we fail to learn how to solve problems without the bloody misery of war. As President Roosevelt once said: “More than an end to war, we want an end to the beginning of all wars.”

Life can appear as though it is crammed full of anguish, yet there is always a crack of light at the distant end of the tunnel. A gleam of light, a ray of light that is waiting, waiting, always waiting to be caught. Can you see it? Can you see it? It may be just a soft brightness yet nonetheless there is light, and with this light there is hope.

Hope is part of the human condition which is instilled deep down inside us, even before our birth, when we just don’t know any better. It is instinctive and vital, the immutable law by which we are driven for when hope falters we freeze. No matter how terrible or unbearable the anguish, hope may falter but we obstinately refuse to allow it to fall.

Life cannot be an accumulation of anguish, for life in itself is a stunning reward. There is constantly something to marvel at in this world of ours, despite our best efforts to destroy its natural beauty. These wonders bring an involuntary smile to one’s face. Our world is a world of mind boggling geographical superlatives from buzzing cities to the outback. From red desserts to scenic coastlines equipped with sandy beaches. From coral reefs to vineyards, steamy rainforests, rolling hills and snow capped mountains. There is sunshine after rain and the song of the bird for mirth.

If life revolved purely around aguish then why oh why are we are still here? If this was the case then in this day and age there are means to end the anguish. Life is to love. Give love unconditionally and it will be returned. As the saying goes, it is better to have loved and lost that to live and never love, for then you have truly lost.

Life does contain much heartache and try as we might, one cannot escape this fact. However one can benefit from anguish. I have watched acquaintances grow and develop as people and make positive steps forward as a result of anguish. Life is not an accumulation of anguish, but it is a pendulum swinging frequently from the good to the bad. The trick is never to give up on the good times, for living it is a state of mind.

Circumstances can dictate anguish: the breadwinner of the family losing their job due to the world recession, is the equivalent of anguish. Many unenviable small situations can also build up to create real anguish in either the home or workplace. When your hopes and dreams come crashing down around your ears, then it is justifiable to state that life is a mergence of anguish and one can become jaded and non trusting, in short paranoid. Yet to be filled with paranoia and a lack of trust is not just losing hope, it is called losing the game of life.

Life is an accumulation of many things of which anguish is only a part. The great aspect of life is that it has the ability to surprise us when we least expect it. Life provides one with a chance to realise the goals that they seek and strive to achieve. Life is a rollercoaster delivering anguish one instant and unbelievable happiness the next and this is all part of the unique ‘joi de vivre’.

Yet at the end of the day perhaps we are all just children playing on a beach with only a bucket and spade to build our castle of dreams. Yet still we play...