Life can at times feel like you’re in a tailspin, but would it really be worth living if we didn’t go through those moments? It’s in moments of distress where the walls feel like they’re caving in on us is where we truly find out who we are as individuals, who our true family and friends are, and where we should remember that it’s the small things that truly make us happy. Rich or poor, popular or unpopular we all question our lives and purpose to one degree or another, but it’s so important to remember that life in itself is a miracle that you only have one shot at, why not make the best of it? Whether life is going as planned or not we need to remember that keeping hope and striving at every moment to better not only ourselves but the people around us will eventually pull us from whatever darkness we’re in and into the light. Always remembering to pause for a second, evaluate where we are and who we are, and being thankful for everything even the bad, because it’s the bad experiences in life that propel us to new heights.
Every night, no matter the weather I walk my dog on the same path, the week prior to Thanksgiving and during Thanksgiving week I would see a homeless man sitting in the same corner of a bench at a local bus stop, always wearing a scarf around his head and the same clothing. A few days before Thanksgiving it had rained very hard all through the night and during the next day; walking my dog I saw this man sitting on the bench in the exact same position soaked from head to toe, and then again, the next night where it started to become increasingly colder, he was still there wearing clothing that was drenched from rain. At this point, I started to feel pity for him and his situation, so I told myself the next night (Thanksgiving eve) I would grab him a sandwich and give him some old clothing and jacket I had. Walking back home I saw him sitting there and I approached him, first handing him the sandwich then the bag of clothing. The first thing he said to me was “this is for me?” I then replied “Yes, happy thanksgiving man”, then he became ecstatic with joy as happiness filled his heart and tears trickled down his cheeks as he thanked me repeatedly.
Walking home feeling happy as if I had accomplished something by making this mans day a little bit better I started thinking how amazing that someone in his situation, being homeless; can be so happy over such as small gesture from a stranger. I gave him clothing I haven’t been able to fit in for some time, that I should have thrown away and a sandwich that cost me ten bucks, why would he be moved to tears? Then I thought, well he is homeless and most likely penniless, he must have been starving and cold. Which is most likely true, but I’m sure others gave him money or food as they walked by, it was a busy walkway, and he could have gone to any church or homeless shelter for food and clothing. But then again, I’ve given money or food out plenty of times to the many homeless in my area and most out of expectation or sheer embarrassment won’t even look at you or say thank you.
What I realized at that moment is that it wasn’t necessarily the clothing or food that thrilled him, but the fact that someone took the time to think of him and the gesture. With all the darkness surrounding this man’s life, he took a small gesture and made it into a beacon of light, which is just amazing. There will always be one part of our life or more that aren’t going exactly as we like, whether it’s a relationship, career path, family, or health; But that doesn’t mean you fall apart and throw your entire life into darkness just because one or more things haven’t gone your way. Just like this man, we need to appreciate the small things in our life that allow us to be happy and the people we call friends and family. Use all the good surrounding your life to move past those moments in life the plunge you into a depression. Meet the inherent struggle that life can be face to face and not allow it to bring you down. So, your boyfriend or girlfriend dumped you, what does that have to do with all the other amazing people in your life, your character, or anything else good in your life. Just because you feel awful in that one aspect, doesn’t mean you have to pull everything else in your life down too.
We live in an imperfect world, how can we ever expect our lives to then be perfect? life is filled with unforeseen variables, and sometimes as hard as we try or as motivated as we might be, things don’t always work out, but that doesn’t mean you give in to that darkness and feel pity for your life and circumstances. We have to see those moments in life as lessons; gather what we can from them, and strive to do better. When you push through and don’t give in, the laws of probability are ultimately on your side; eventually, it all works out, but if you give in, you will find yourself reliving those moments of failure over and over again. You can fail 99 straight times, but all it takes is that 100th try that succeeds to make it all worth it.
So, stop looking at everything that’s gone wrong in your life and start looking at everything that’s going right. Allow those moments to pick you up and help you move forward, just as this homeless man; with a life engulfed in misery he still allowed himself to make something grand of what I saw as a small gesture of kindness. Don’t fall under the spell of what is and what could have been, there is no changing whatever happened; appreciate the experience, learn from it, allow the other parts of your life that bring you happiness to take precedent, and move forward. Failing in a relationship, a startup idea, or even worse having health issues are not the end all be all. Some of the most amazing things that have occurred on this world only occurred through struggle, without that struggle how can you truly appreciate the success of finding that one true love, career path, or overall look on life.