Each moment of the happy lover’s hour is worth an age of dull and common life. – Aphra Behn
What does that mean?
I laughed when I saw this quote. I know that this applies to loves other than romantic, which is the root of the quote. There have been times when my computer has been called the ‘other woman.’
And it isn’t that I love my computer, per se, but I love what I can do with it, and when I am on it. The same analogy applies to the sports fan, who has to be pulled off the couch to eat a meal.
Do I even need to mention video games? This is the kind of happiness we often find, and immerse ourselves in. Sometimes it is specifically to avoid the time spend in the dull and common life.
I believe that the quote applies to nearly everything in our lives which we use to divert our attention from what is otherwise a dull and common life. And that we should be more accepting of the dull and common parts.
Why is dull and common important?
There are many things we enjoy and use to escape from the dull and common life. But we also have to be careful to not become an addict to that lover’s hour, and try to turn it into hours and hours. At some point, we have to go back to the dull and common life we live.
To me, it is important to understand that our dull and common life is a worthy task. Even if it isn’t something that saves the day, or is otherwise spectacular, it has merit. Even if no one else seems to think it does. Consider the humble garbage collector, and what happens when they don’t show up to pick up the trash?
Then there is personal development. Every day is full of opportunities to improve our calmness, caring, compassion, dignity, empathy, focus, helpfulness, integrity, kindness, loyalty, persistence, piety, strength, sympathy, tolerance, and wisdom.
Yes, it’s still dull and common. But we can make it into our own personal training yard, a philosophical gymnasium for our use. And we can take some time to appreciate the opportunity that we have in these otherwise dull moments of our lives.
Where can I apply this in my life?
Is dull and common a good thing? It’s not how we normally think. But I believe, if you can wrap your head around the idea, it will be of great benefit to you, as it has for me. Consider this as well. If we never had dull and common moments, to what would we compare our greatest moments?
Everything in my life seems to come in cycles. Ebbing, flowing. Surging, withdrawing. I imagine it is similar for most of you. How big the peaks are, and how deep the troughs are will vary from person to person. Just understand that we can’t always live at the peak. At times things go the other way.
I believe being prepared for both the good, however fleeting it might seem, as well as for the dull and common, however long it might seem. The dull times don’t seem so dull when you know there is a happy time coming. And the happy times can be judged in comparison to the rest of the time. It can provide us perspective, right?
I also believe that we should be on the lookout for the good times, that happy lover’s hour as the quote says. It might not come in a manner you expect. Earlier today, I had some fun with my daughter, cleaning her closet. I know, that sounds silly, and it was, but we had fun doing it, together.
We have a fairly good idea about what the best happy hours might be, but how prepared are you for the unexpected? On our honeymoon, we’d planned a picnic in a park near the hotel. But it rained that day, so we stayed in the hotel and had our picnic inside. It’s still one of my happiest hours. And it certainly wasn’t planned that way.
The dull and common doesn’t really sneak up on you, but sometimes the less than happy moments do. How prepared are you for these moments? Or how do you deal with them when they occur? That might be something to think about, as you ponder both the happy hour and the dull and common hours in-between.
Life is full of love. The love of doing things, of being with people, or even our pets. As many definitions as there are of love, there are people who love in that manner. And there are always the dull and common moments which seem to stretch out towards infinity. How will you react to these times, and all the others between?