“I don’t know what to write about on my blog this week”, I told Andrew this afternoon.
“Write about the things you fail to get in your life!”
“What? Why would I write about that? Besides, I kind of get what I want, usually.” I said, smiling smugly.
“See! That’s your problem! Look at the grin you have while showing off your ‘perfect life’, it is like when you told my friend S. the story of how you met your fiancé: [suddenly putting on a bad but funny imitation of my voice and my French accent]’I arrived in Switzerland, and I met him after only 2 month, I was so lucky, and he is perfect, and everything I do is so cool, because that’s how I roll.'”
Really? Did I say that? I could only remember a friendly girl asking me how I met Nick, my fiancé, and my telling her the story of how it happened. Then, she actually told me that I was very lucky.
I wondered, was he only being sarcastic and mildly rude (as usual) or was he pointing out something genuinely disturbing in my attitude? I was annoyed because it was not the first time I had heard this kind of reproach. I lost a good friend a few years ago because she kept on telling me how lucky I was and how things always went my way. She also gave me grief for my overall positive attitude about my life and things happening in it. Eventually, I grew tired of having to be sorry for being content. I don’t know whether she was jealous or if the problem came from me. So when Andrew pointed out something similar, an insecure part of me was stung.
I am a positive person. I smile and laugh often, and would rather enthusiastically tell my friends about the cool things going on in my life than bemoan the bad parts.
It is true, I often get what I want. But when I think about it, I realise the things I want are pretty basic and simple. I also try to focus on the good bits of everyday, and it makes a difference.
It doesn’t mean that I am especially lucky or that my life is a complete and uninterrupted bliss.
Let’s take the example of how I met Nick. Luck played a role, but a minor one. When I arrived in Zürich, almost 2 years ago, I had just been dumped by my ex-boyfriend and didn’t know anyone in Switzerland except from my dad and his family. So I signed up for a website called “swissfriends” thinking it seemed like a good place to make friends. It was actually a dating site. Fine, I thought, even better, maybe I’ll meet a cool guy. A few days after, I saw his profile: a few pictures, a short description, and his message: “I am looking for someone to drink coffee with in the morning sun on Sundays and chill”. He looked healthy, athletic, educated and I really liked his line about just getting coffee. At that moment, I thought: this is it, he’s the kind of guy I am looking for. So I sent him a short message offering to get a cup of coffee in Zürich the weekend after. I didn’t post a photo to my profile, he didn’t ask for it, nor did he ask about my looks– another good sign. I had such a good feeling about him; I was right for it wasn’t long before we fell in love.
Ok, I’ll concede that it was lucky to meet only one guy from a dating site to find out it was the right one. But what happened is that I took action. It could have been just going out more, or beginning a collective sport to meet new people. I am not making the case for dating sites, but for action. I was open to it, and it happened.
I also have bad luck sometimes. For example, today, my bike was stolen. I am pissed off and a bit sad; it was a present I received only a year ago. But what am I going to do about it? Spend the whole day being angry and upset at the world? What is it going to bring to me?
Apart from bad luck, I had terrible moments in my life. I am not going to make a whole list of them, as Andrew suggested, because they will all seem ridiculous compared to what is happening at the moment in Japan and Libya, for example. But I am sure that for every tear I cried, for every moment of desperation I experienced, a new part of me learned how to be joyful. In The Prophet, Khalil Gibran beautifully expresses this idea:
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
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