This month began with a blast from the past; a very dear friend made some last-minute plans and dropped by to see us. I was thankful for the wonderful opportunity to spend time with her and the little ones. Last year, before leaving Thailand, she gave me the gift of another treasured friendship by introducing me to one of her closest friends here. I owe a large chunk of my success as a mother to their dear friendship. When I count my blessings, they are definitely at the top of the list, but the strangest part about these two friendships is that I could have missed experiencing them. Why? Because first impressions can be deceitful. In fact, with one of them it probably took me ten interactions to finally be at ease, but when it did happen, it was the best relationship ever. Once upon a time, I strongly believed in the “first-click” friendship. Over the years, I’ve learned to sit back, wait and watch. Sometimes you meet the nicest people on their worst days. Hence, in my opinion, first impressions are overrated. They could make one lose out on a potentially great friendship. Like marriage, friendship is hard work too, so if you want to see it thrive and grow, you have to water it regularly and pay attention to it. My heart is filled with gratitude for the amazing friendships I have been fortunate to have in this lifetime.
My Hypotheses: In order to enjoy the ordinary, one must be light-hearted, thankful, and forgiving.
This month was a true test of my commitment to The Ordinary Life project, and I recognised it immediately that fateful afternoon when my dear laptop (screen open) slipped out of my otherwise not-so-clumsy fingers and crashed on the floor. I stood there like a deer caught in headlights watching it happen in slow motion. It lay there moaning (the hard disc was instantly affected and was letting out some strange sounds).
I gathered myself and attempted the regular restart. It didn’t blink and just continued to groan. My heart was beating faster now because it suddenly struck me that I could lose all my data. I panicked for ten minutes while attempting to resuscitate it back to life. I prayed for it not to die on me; it had been a true companion for the last 3.5 years. I began writing once again and it supported me through this journey. I made a few calls and rushed to two service centers to see if they could fix it. And standing there before a perfect stranger who probably thought I had completely lost the plot I let a tear or two slide down my cheeks. My daughter was wide-eyed and tugged at my hand asking me why I was crying. So I explained to her what had happened and in her innocent toddler tone she told me matter-of-factly “Let’s buy a new one, mama.”
So simple, right?
I was a bit taken aback. It couldn’t be that simple.
I had many folders that I hadn’t backed up (I make an honest effort at it … but not enough I have come to learn the hard way), which meant I not only lost work material but several photos too. Besides, I was attached to this piece of technology; it was certainly an emotional time.
This was both, a teachable moment (back up!) and a test too.
So I slid my laptop back into my bag and exited the service center leaving behind the heavy heart I had entered with earlier that noon. My laptop had gone to IT heaven, and I could do nothing about it. However, this uncomfortable situation did provide me with the opportunity to practise being light-hearted. On our way home, I ordered Chinese food to celebrate the clean slate I had been handed.
That is one way to look at it, right?
I didn’t curse. I didn’t shed another tear.
I put my daughter to bed and began to research prices for new laptops, and while I was busy adding options to my cart that I could come back to at a later time, I saw two messages on my phone. The first one was from the friend who helped with contacts for service centers. She had texted to tell me she would be sending her laptop to help me with my work until I bought a new one (I am typing on hers right now). The second message was from my sister, offering me her relatively new laptop for free.
None of the above.
Take your pick.
Doors opened. Friends and family came through when I least expected. It was important for me to be completely present in that moment, to acknowledge the kindness the world continues to offer even when you have nothing to give and to be thankful for being a recipient of love and friendship. I savoured that moment.
Three days later, my husband found the courage to ask me, “Are you fine with what’s happened? I don’t think you’ve come to terms with the loss.”
Surprise! Surprise! I did. This is me, growing, detaching, failing and learning. This is my new normal, and I’m grateful for it.
Until next time, have a fun summer and don’t forget to enjoy the ordinary.