Sitting on the plane flying back from Dubai I felt happy and sad.
Happy to have spent time with my beloved sister and with my new obsession, my perfect niece.
Sad to be flying away from them.
Happy to be flying back towards a man I love and who loves me.
Sad to be flying away from my sister and sad that I didn’t have more time to see her or the ton of friends I have in Dubai.
I’m pretty sure that’s the ultimate embodied experience of feeling bittersweet.
It’s that feeling parents get as their children seem to get bigger and bigger before their eyes. The feeling of good and exciting change that’s still change (and therefore hard nonetheless). It’s that poignant moment coupled with the realisation that the world is still turning. Sadness tinged happiness.
I like what Neghar Fonooni says about bittersweetness:
When we experience these bittersweet emotions, we’re feeling simultaneous gratitude and loss. It’s painful, and yet it feels strangely calm, all at once–and in this hurting calm we find a unique perspective. We learn to let go without forgetting, and remain open without falling apart; we understand what it feels like to be at life’s whim, and rather than lament and cling to what has come to pass, we grow into presence.
Bittersweetness is a feeling that has the power to help us live with more ease, should we lean into it when it arises.