Charles Dickens once asked in his book “Our Mutual Friend” and I quote “Is it better to have had a good thing and lost it, or never to have had it?”. I came across this quote while reading “The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight” by Jennifer E. Smith last weekend. I have finished reading the book but my thoughts still linger on this short line. I have been bothered. I asked myself which is actually better for both can actually be defended by any sensible person. Then I realized that though it’s a sad thing to lose something you once have (especially if you value it), I would actually prefer at least having it for some time.

And my thoughts go back to the one I’ve nearly had and lost. Someone who has once brightened my days. Someone whom I still value despite the years that have gone by. Someone I can consider a good thing from the past.

Have you ever wondered what a miracle it is to find one person, among the millions and billions who walk this earth, who has a soul like yours? The missing piece in your puzzle. The ink in your pen. The pages in your book. The one who is a compliment to you even in the negative aspects. Someone who is your soulmate. With the many people coming and going our lives, there will be that one person whom you never really forget. The one who leaves the deepest mark. The one who causes the greatest pain. And as they say, nobody forgets their first love. He was like that to me. Someone who has already imprinted a part of him in me that will never ever be removed. And, honestly speaking, though I have had pain losing him I was once happiest with the moments we once shared.

Memories are source of mixed emotions. It ignites some flame of regret. It causes pain upon realizing it was long forgotten by the one you shared it with. And yet no one would argue that it, especially the sweet ones, always paint a smile in our lips once remembered. Whether that is a smile of surrender upon the realization on the turn of events that have made your story upside down. Or maybe just a smile like when you are a teenager giggling over a scenario with your crush. Might also be a smile of one who could not believe those things actually happened.

Memories are mirrors of our past. The window to the what-used-to-be’s. If you have had a memory of someone who’s no longer there and yet still makes you smile, then isn’t it still better? When you have a thing to think about when you are upset about life and makes you think how you were lucky once in a while, isn’t it enough? When you look at others who has never had that opportunity to be loved the way you once were, isn’t it something to thank for? I ponder over this question and it makes the burden a little lighter. You see, most of the time we think of what has gone wrong and we fail to notice the many great things that come as a sort of small miracles in our lives. Memories though remind us of them. And isn’t it a good thing to have something worth remembering than to have nothing at all?

So to answer Dickens, for me it is better to have had a good thing and lose it than never have it at all. Of course if there is a way to keep it, we surely will. But there are things that we did and could no longer change. And though I believe we always have a say on what we will have and won’t base on our decisions, sometimes fate throws some sick jokes which confuses us so. Then time, it slips before we even realize what is happening. Once it slips, there’s no way getting it back. Yet it plays tricks; it lengthens those agonizing moments and shortens the happy ones. Or maybe it’s just us, who makes it feel longer or shorter when it’s suppose to just run it’s normal course. Still the same there are things or people, no matter what the reason might be, that we lose along our journey. Yet, whatever happens, a good thing is a good thing. If we lose it and it’s loss breaks our heart, we can’t really regret ever having it. It will surely leave us something to ponder or to learn that will be valuable in the future when we’ll need to make a decision. And when that time comes, we’ll know why it happened to us and we’ll be thankful for having it once or maybe even losing it.

(photo credits


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