Posts tagged ‘surprise’

August 14, 2014

10 days for a better world – day 5

And so it goes. Yesterday was day 5 of these 10 days to better the world. And yesterday was a day that I unexpectedly was able to do two things that I want to share with you. One about depression, and one about surprising someone who had some misfortune. Let’s start with depression.

At this moment the theme of depression is quite ‘trending’. With a great actor who took his life because he couldn’t cope with the fight he had to deliver in his head, over and over again, the world is wondering how it can be that someone who makes the whole world laugh is feeling so sad himself.

Yesterday I read about yet another friend who heard she was suffering from depression. It always gets to me, because I know from experience what it feels like and though I know how to live with it, I also know that depression is something that will never leave you, not entirely that is. For some it works pretty well to use medicines, for others it is easier to cope with the feelings than with the idea of drugs in their bodies and the effect this might have. Both ways are fine. The most important thing is, that people with depression both need a lot of ‘alone-time’ and a lot of people who support them.

Supporting someone with depression is not an easy task, because that vibrant person you know might become the saddest person you know. And being sad or down isn’t really appealing to others in the long run. So as soon as I heard about her diagnosis, I send her an e-mail. An e-mail that basically said””I am here if you want me to, and if you don’t, that is fine too.” And though this might seem like nothing, like an empty promise, I know it isn’t. I remember how much the support that I have had in the past still means to me. I know who was there for me and did not turn his or her back. And those people I hold close in my heart, though I might never have actually used their help, they were there for me and I hope I can be there for them as well.

Gorge_Amphitheatre - Sasquatch! 2006 (Creative Commons)

Gorge_Amphitheatre – Sasquatch! 2006 (Creative Commons)

And then there as this other girl. A girl who was planning on going to a major multiple day festival, who bought tickets for the festival and for her flight and prepared her festival gear. 2 days into the festival she got ill and had to return home. I don’t know this girl, but via a friend she came to my attention. He told me a part of her story and I decided to cheer her up for a bit. I managed to arrange for her that she could go to another – a bit smaller – festival later on so she could at least get a bit of that festival feeling back. Yesterday all was arranged and the friend could tell her. He told me that she was very happy with this surprise and that she appreciated my random act.

So, there it goes. Yesterday was a day that made me realize that you can go for small or for big when it comes to cheering someone up. For the person who receives the gift, the most important part is that the gift comes from an honest heart. That the gift is accompanied by good intentions and is meant as a gift without expecting anything in return (in my opinion, a gift should never be a trading position).

It brightens up my day when I read your stories about your 10 days, so keep on blogging and posting about them and please send me a link or so, so I can read about your great ideas as well! Have a great day!

December 6, 2013

The element of no surprise

It’s Friday afternoon. I am still tired from last weekend. It was awesome to party in Bradford (UK) for the entire weekend, but apparently I should’ve slept a little bit more. Who cares? It is Friday afternoon again and the upcoming weekend has little surprises for me. Putting up the Christmas tree, some editing for Cassette Culture, going to the gym (finally again!), some music, some Doctor Who and a whole lot of doing basically nothing! Hell yeah!

First stop
I find myself standing on a pop-up store at the parking lot of the local DIY shop. I am lucky. The hail just stopped pounding on the sales area. There is no roof to hide under and the trees are all damping and wet. Picking out a Christmas tree is one of the easiest things to do. The only thing I do is smell it and feel it. The shop is filled with impatient people who hardly have the decency to wiat for their turn. I have made my choice and I stand there patiently while two people rudely jump in front of me and start talking to the sales guy who was just about to approach me. I let them.

The rain softly starts to fall down again and a little boy starts to cry. His dad looks at me and I nod. “Can you tell me where this tree is?” He asks the sales guy. – “I don’t know. When did you buy it?” The father looks desperately at his kid and replies that he bought it this morning. “Could you please go inside and ask at the service desk? They’ll know. Or you can look over there, that are the trees that have been paid for. Your number should be among those.” The father looks at the trees and walks off. His wife arrives and helps him look for the right tree.

“Okay, your turn.” I smile. The guy smiles back. “Rush hour?” The guy explains that he should’ve been there alone only for half an hour, but it must’ve been longer by now. His colleagues were on a break and all the people with office jobs are awakening from their weekly routine, only to continue it slightly different. “I already picked my tree. That one. Unless you have one with a few less branches on the lower side of the tree. “ The boy helps me find my perfect tree. Soft needles, strong scent, about a meter high. “I will seal it for you for transport. Here is your ticket.” I thank the young man and walk inside.

Inside the same man that could not wait for his turn is alternately arguing with his wife and the shop employees. “Some people are just annoying”, is the resigned reaction of the service employee when she passes by. I smile and walk outside again. I pick up my tree and burry my face in the branches. It smells so good.

Next stop
Time to get some groceries. It’s my personal routine. My regular path covers hardly a third of the total surface of the shop and I must admit, if I have a party or special occasion, I totally get lost, even though it is hard to imagine: I live in a small village and the convenient store isn’t thát  big. I meet my neighbour. He is in a hurry; he should’ve been at his parents’ about half an hour ago… I wander on.

Time to check out. As I Picked the shortest line it doesn’t really take long before I find myself grabbing my wallet and paying for my food. And then it happens. That moment that I did not see coming any more than the young woman behind me in the line. I bought a voucher for an online book/ media shop, worth just five Euros. I ask for a pen and the lady behind the counter hands it to me. I look at the words I just wrote: Pay it forward. I turn to the lady behind me: “Do you read?”
She looks up. Confused. She looks at the people around us and then hesitantly answers: “Yes, I do.”
I hand over the voucher. She looks even more confused. “What have I done to deserve this?”She asks. I smile. She radiates happiness. “Read the card”, is all I say before I walk off. The people around us are all confused, but, smiling. I leave the shop and realize I should’ve told the young woman: “Because you exist.” Oh well. She radiated. She smiled. She was energized.

061220133100Time to go home
When I open my back door, Dino comes running to me. A happy creature filled with energy and joy. Enthusiastically she runs outside as if to say FREEEEDOM! Shortly Mandela crosses my mind again. I will always remember. Dino is curious about that big green thing that I am giving so much attention. She plays with the Christmas bells I put in my tree. She plays with the groceries. She fights with my hands as I put up the Christmas lights.

After cleaning up we sit down on the couch. We cuddle. I look at my tree. I think about the wonderful people that live in this word. I think about how beautiful the world would look if everyone would offer a random act of happiness to another random person. I take a sip of my steamy hot tea. I look at my tree and I smile. I smile.