Originally published on 12th May, 2016.
4 minute read
A year back, I lost a part of me in the Nepal Earthquake 2072. I lost my best friend.
She was my source of happiness; she meant the world to me. Never in a million years would I have ever thought we would have to drift apart. “I want you to be happy wherever you are, okay?” she used to tell me. I always took her remark for granted and didn’t pay much heed to it. The reason? It was something inconceivable and hence, I found it futile to discuss a life minus her.
But then life happened.
I can feel some awwwwwws and awkward silences coming through the computer screen right now. “Poor guy! Must be miserable..” you must be sympathizing.
But a year on, I’m happy and I want to tell you why.
Today at this particular instance, I feel happy; I feel content. I feel grateful for the life I have been blessed with (yes, despite the tragedy I had to go through). Not just today, but this is a ritual I practice every day. Each morning, as I sit for lunch before leaving for work, I take a moment to realize how lucky I’m. Before I feast on the warm food served to me with so much love and affection, I take a deep breath and savor that wonderful little moment to realize how fortunate I’m to have a roof above my head that protects me from the hot and cold, good food at my table so that I don’t die of hunger and a few loved ones surrounding me to make sure my heart isn’t cold and empty. These three possessions might seem so basic in nature but in reality are larger than life.
“I have those too!” You must be echoing. But I wonder how many of us stop to think of the basics we’ve been accustomed to and feel grateful about it? Ever wondered what would it be like if there was no shelter? Or no food to survive on; let alone getting to choose from delicacies three times a day or being without people who want the best for us? What would a world like that look like; be like? My mind can only imagine so far and my heart doesn’t even want to feel the plight of that precarious situation again.
Yet still, we go through the motions every day often failing to acknowledge what we have and this is where it gets sad. That daunting realization I had when someone who I took for granted got taken away from me. Can you think of anyone in your life that once meant so much to you but then life happened and the two of you just drifted apart? Imagine how you’ll feel if something happens to that person tonight and you don’t get to hear from them every again. (I don’t have to imagine for I know how it feels and trust me, it isn’t a pretty feeling.)
For some strange reason, we are always on the outlook for something beyond. We all dream of that next big bungalow we can show off to our neighbors and relatives but in the midst of wanting for more, what is here right now often gets overlooked. We humans always want that next car, that next jewelry or that next pay rise. It’s plain stupid because that approach means just one thing; that happiness is always elusive to us. We’re experts at looking at what we had, wish we had or want to have but what about right here right now? What about the present?
A wise man once talked about how everything in life is relative. A friend of mine often says, “No matter how well you think you’re doing, there’s always going to be someone with a better car and more money than you.”
What’s the point of comparing then, anyways?
You are lucky. You have a best friend you can always go to. But still, I will not compare myself to you and cry over what I took for granted and lost. Instead, I choose to be grateful for what I do have right now because I’ve understood this the hard way: what I have can be taken away from me anytime.
I feel grateful that I’ve come to understand the difference between ‘wants’ and ‘needs’ at an early age. A roof above my head, few loving ones and food at my table remind me that all my needs are taken care of. I might want a host of things but focusing on them will remind me of how happiness is still far-fetched for me. Past is gone; future is uncertain. All we have is the present and if our happiness depends on the things that are already gone or are still elusive to us, can we ever be content with the present? We go to bed by setting an alarm for the next day but is there any guarantee that we’ll wake up tomorrow?
At the end of the day, what are we after? I’d think happiness.
But can happiness wait? How long can we wait before we become happy again?
Today, I’d like to start a brand new day with nothing but gratitude. My best friend, wherever you are, whatever you are doing, just know that I’m grateful for the times we shared and the lessons you taught me. You couldn’t save me but you taught me to save myself.