Yesterday I went to a dance performance here in San Francisco. I hadn’t been to a contemporary dance performance (or almost any dance performance, really) in a very long time. When it first started out, I wasn’t sure quite where it was going or how comfortable I was or whether or not I was really going to enjoy it. But it didn’t take long before I was wrapped up in the story of the performance. And by the end, I found myself really feeling touched by the piece.
The reason that I found this performance so compelling was because it touches at the core of a human issue that has been very personal in my life lately. The performance (David Roussève’s Saudade) is themed around the word bittersweet and it tries to put into form these moments of life that we experience that have both something bitter and something sweet about them. What ends up happening is that the dance looks primarily at how individuals triumph over the toughest times in life and how that is wonderful even as the tough times are terrible.
The past year or so has been rough for me. Many different changes occurred in my life. There have been different types of losses that have torn at my heartstrings in so many different ways. There have been different problems from the past that swelled up within me and demanded confrontation. There have been conflicts within me about work and friendship and life choices. There has been illness. There have been some really dark times.
But this past year was also one of the best years of my life. Because it is true that when we are facing those dark times, we find those moments of joy. I discovered yoga this year. I have learned how to find some peace of mind. I have gotten to know myself better. I have grown as a person and my friendships have grown as a result of that. I have learned to take time for the things that I really enjoy.
Life is, most definitely, bittersweet.