At this moment, 8.57am, 20/03/17, I am watching two men. One is sweeping leaves off the interlocking concrete and the other is washing the boss’ car and intermittently going to the sweeping guy. They are gisting like teenage girls on a playground. They are having fun, patting each other, laughing hysterically at each other’s jokes. They look to be in their mid-thirties to early forties. They are happy. They are content.
You see, happiness is a function of person not of society person is in. A person is unhappy only when he allows the unhappiness around him diffuse into him.
There is a quote I like from Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You, a touching novel about how a paraplegic man and his help change each-others’ lives, it goes: The thing about being catapulted into a whole new life – or at least, shoved up so hard against someone else’s life that you might as well have your face pressed against their window – is that it forces you to rethink your idea of who you are. Or how you might seem to other people.
I like it because I have found it to be true. It is a very interesting experience to be catapulted into a new life. I am living that experience as you read this. When I moved here, I thought I had everything about myself figured out and wrapped together. But it did not take me long to realise that the things I know about myself are only the things that the situations around me have exposed me to. I imagine that this is not a personal thing. It occurs with everyone. It’s like your life is in pages and there are several, several pages that you have not read and you know nothing about simply because those pages are yet to be opened.
I have loved my time here so far. It has shown me that I can be more malleable than I thought, that I can adjust, that life can swing left and right and I can be still. I have decided about life to enjoy it, no matter its taste. I pray to never ever see the setting sun and not appreciate it even on days when I am hungry; to never get tired of the night skies even on nights when my heart is broken, to never see the view out my office window and not marvel at the utter wonder of life even when there is a ton of work to be done. I pray I never become the man who does not know how to appreciate these tiny drops of miracle.
I hate moving because it is a lot of work: packing things and then unpacking things, arranging things and then lifting them. But in the 31 days between January 28th and February 28th, 2017, I had to move twice; and certainly, I would move again soon, at most before the end of April. I cannot complain because in the grander scheme of things, it is a blessing. I did not necessarily have to leave my last location. I left relative comfort and a lifestyle I enjoyed and moved because 2017 was the year that I needed to lose my feathers and grow some stronger appendages. This year has been such a blessing, you can’t even imagine.
The problem I have had is that it is not super exciting when you are new to a place, it takes a while to get used to things. And that is another thing about moving – the new place. People may find you strange because you act different from them, because you are yet unaware that certain things should be done in certain ways, because where you came from you must pay the cabbie before you get off the cab but where you have moved to you must pay the cabbie once he’s dropped you. It takes time to get used to new things.
The men are done with their car washing and leaf-sweeping. I can no longer see them. They are probably somewhere eating boli and groundnuts. Happily.