I am sitting at a white table in front of my laptop in a renovated apartment in the oldest part of town. This means that, although comfortable, there’s a constant background noise of tourists, incredibly loud locals who’ve been living here for generations and like to yell from their windows to the people on the building across the street, and occasionally the man who sells gas bottles on the street. By day, that is. By night, add the sounds of people partying on the street and of the downstairs club.
But here, at this table, there is me wearing one of my favorite dresses — white and light blue stripes, soft and airy fabric, perfect for the constant heat of Barcelona. I couldn’t be bothered to tame my lion’s mane this morning, so my hair looks like a crazy wavy mess wrapped in a bun. To my left an empty mug of coffee, the first of the day. To my right a bunch of random things that do not belong to me.
If you built this picture in your mind, you’ll feel like you’re sitting here with me. And this is exactly the feeling I have… when I’m writing, I’m just talking to a friend. And since it’s just you and me here, I would like to share this morning’s reflections with you.
I had a great weekend as I was at a festival in the Netherlands. I got to see some of my favorite bands and discovered that I, too, am a fangirl sometimes. I didn’t know I had it in me, to be honest, but both at the Bastille and Mumford & Sons concerts I experienced the feeling of seeing my life playing as a movie. These are bands I listened to on the days where I felt happy or sad; on the days where it was 7 pm and I knew my work day was only about halfway through; on the days where I felt bored and just wanted to turn around and leave. So I sang and I danced and I jumped around. Then, something else happened. In this moment I forgot I was looking for jobs, I forgot that I am not yet living in Amsterdam, I forgot that I have been a nomad for 4 months now.
Instead, I felt thankful for being there, for the sun that had started to shine (we were in the Netherlands and the weather is really unpredictable there even in summer), and for the friends and boyfriend life has given me because they’re pretty damn awesome. And when I came home I was tired as I walked about 47km in 3 days, but very happy because I realized how good I have it, really.
However, when I landed and went on Whatsapp and my email, I got confronted with the same reality that was there when I left. I am still looking for jobs, and I got a series of notifications/messages of people who got new jobs or promotions. And it felt weird. I am happy for my friends, I am available to help them when they don’t know how to best negotiate something, and I cannot compare myself to them because they’re applying for different things. So why does it still feel weird? Why do I feel like I’m not doing enough?
I was feeling this way for a while and I did need to actively stop myself from going down this thinking path. It’s so easy to forget that other people face different challenges and that life is not a competition, isn’t it? Just the day before I was thinking of how I should be thankful for this life I have, and now here I was feeling upset about something that I can’t control. All of this while being in a city that suffered an attack a few days ago and that resulted in the death and injuries of too many people.
Here are mine: this year, I got to go from a long-distance relationship to being together every day with the world’s most supportive & wonderful boyfriend; I have been traveling a lot and still have other countries on my list for this year, perhaps even Morocco if the money lasts long enough. I got into a huge argument with my best friend but we made up and our friendship is better for it — now, even though we are now living in different countries, she’s still very much part of my daily life. I will be a bridesmaid at a wedding in Brazil, I will witness important milestones in my family’s lives. I have friends and family who are not afraid to express that they love and miss me. These are the things that you cannot apply for but have to be lucky enough to find, and they sure are worth being thankful and happy for every day. The job? That’ll come, eventually.
So what about you? What are you thankful for? I’d love to know. 🙂