The Talk of Gratitude
Day 1 – Rain, rain, rain
Oh, no… not another rainy day. My throat hurts, I can hardly swallow and my head feels so heavy. I stumble across the room, find my slippers and head out to wash my face, hoping I would feel better and more awake. Nope, none of that actually happened. I get out of the bathroom and look through the living room window… My God, the weather has been just ghastly. All is grey, wet and miserable. The only things that liven up the site are almost unnatural green trees and grass. They will drown if this rain continues.
I make a breakfast, eat while I dress up and we are ready to head out. Not mentally ready, but we got our umbrellas so… yeah, let’s do this! From the moment we step out of our building you just wish to say: “Ah, to heck with it, I’m not going to work today”. As if…
Already half-wet, we reach the tram station and there are a lot of people waiting. It’s raining, so obviously, there’s no tram in sight. I observe as people nervously shift from one foot to the other, glancing at their phones and watches every other second.
Finally, the tram arrives and most of us want to get out of that wretched cold and rain, get to our offices. So, the tram is packed with sleepy but annoyed people and dripping umbrellas. We find a relatively good spot to stand, so we don’t get pushed around that much. I even lean against the wall, so I don’t have to hold myself while we ride. Score!
Because of the rain, traffic jams are everywhere, so it takes us forever to reach work. And each time we stop, people get more impatient. Finally, a stop before mine, I turn for the door and some nice lady says to me that I have a smear on my coat. I look for it myself and yes. Some tram graffiti artist would be proud to know that now I’m wearing his “work of art” on my raincoat. I really don’t like this day.
I had hoped my misery would finally end when I reach work. Well, I was wrong. Not only that I had to sit in my half-damp clothes throughout all work day, but it was freezing. Mind you, it’s the middle of May, so heating system is of course, off. And my cold is just getting worse. I’m sneezing like every few minutes and every time I do sneeze, my throat hurts more. The only consolation for me was that I will get a day off tomorrow so I can get a bit better.
Getting back home was pretty much the same. Water on the streets, rain still falling, traffic being slow, people being edgy… Never mind all that. We reach home and I take a hot shower to warm myself and between the blankets I go! After having something to eat, sleep came easily enough.
Day 2 – Rain, rain, rain and wind, wind, wind… and then, something else
My phone wakes me up to another grey, almost nonexistent day. I check the weather through the window. No improvement. Still raining, but with the twist. Now, with the strong wind it would seem. I don’t know whether to feel relieved that I’m not going to work today or to feel bad that my husband is. I make him a breakfast and company while he gets ready to work. Seeing him off, I return to my bed to sleep through my cold.
When I woke up again, the hunger swept over me. I made myself a healthy, hearty breakfast and started cruising the Web. Now, here I have to make a slight digression and set something straight: we don’t own TV, we don’t listen to radio nor read newspapers. Living in a negative world, we try to shy away from it as much as we can, creating our own little world of positivity, healthy habits and mindfulness. But, alas, it is impossible to stay completely isolated from all bad news.
I overheard people at my work talking about floods in my country. So, I started reading the news about it. I was mesmerized and shocked. For about two hours I did nothing but read about really bad floods, floods that ruined acres of towns, houses… that left people almost homeless and animals drowned.
Seeing photos of cities overrun with water left me speechless and with watery eyes. So much misfortune and pain it caused people. In a course of a few minutes or hours their lives turned upside down, for some of them never to be same again. And there was me, sitting in my comfy and (dry!) bad, feeling sorry for myself. At that moment, after reading all those news, something changed. Instead of whining about feeling uncomfortable, I tried to gather as much positive energy as possible to send to those less fortunate than me. I realized that I have reason to feel gratitude. My family and I are safe and sound. I stopped complaining about the rain, wind, my cold… ‘Cause out there people were in real distress.
In all that bad news what really warmed my heart were stories about people helping each other, supporters of rival sport clubs working together to help people… What is fascinating about people in these kinds of situations is that we put everything aside for that one common goal. United in an effort to overcome all obstacles, like a phoenix, and although facing tough times, we rise from the ashes, better, stronger, almost anew.
What have I learned from this? That sometimes, we demand too much to be happy. But the truth is usually quite different. So, if the happiness depends on the amount of things we crave and “need”, shouldn’t we do something about it? That actually means that we are responsible for our own happiness! Surprised? You shouldn’t be. We need to stop blaming every little thing for not having “perfect” life. What is perfect, anyway? Try this: instead of always concentrating on things you don’t have, list what you DO have. And I don’t mean just material things. Hell, that is the last thing on that list.
Cherish yourself, everyone and everything around you. Whether you believe in reincarnation, this, the present life is unique and special. And it is not the money, the luxury and carrier that will make you happy. Gratitude will. Compassion. Faith. Not necessarily religious type of faith, but faith in something good. Positivity. Hope for better days yet to come, but still being mindful and grateful of those already here. Of now.
Don’t waste your time on meaningless things. Find meaning in your life in the smallest of the things. Don’t ask too much. Be humble and grateful. Be happy to be alive, healthy, with a roof over your head, few bucks in your pocket and a people who love you. Enjoy every color, sound, taste. Enjoy life.
Disclaimer: Photos posted in this blog post were taken near our home, at Sava wharf and are not nearly as bad as floods in other parts of Serbia, Bosnia or Croatia. More about the floods and how you can help if you wish so, can be found here.