The Tyrannical Burden of Enjoyment

Enjoy fully each day, each minute, each second,
an adage whose burden I never did reckon
until this bright morning it struck startlingly clear:
requiring enjoyment exacts costs deeply dear.

Guilt and anxiety escort a constant aim
to make every breath count toward a superior game.
Guilt for the past, if the effort expended was lax
and time slipped away not plumbed to the max.

Anxiety for what’s coming–can I keep up the fight
to relish each time bite with all of my might?
Or will something terrible loom up unbidden?
Who knows what deep in the future lies hidden?

A middle path must wend between hyper and dulled,
between avid engagement and flaccidly lulled.
As one moves through life, a short blip it is true,
one needs perspective to banish the blue.

Requiring enjoyment, though, will not fill the bill.
Now and then everyone comes to a hill
causing shortness of breath, a little real pain.
Recall: too much strong sunshine without any rain

will shrivel the plant life, make everything brown.
By all means, chase enjoyment, nature’s own clown,
who helps make the voyage more fun to endure.
But don’t tout euphoria as a guaranteed cure

without which you’re a failure, no good in the race.
Like everything else, joy has its place.
Take comfort in knowing even a whine-tinged brief smile
will still move you trippingly onward in style.