I’m feeling a somewhat pensive today . . . it’s my friend Kathy’s birthday. She lives in Cincinnati and I live in New Zealand and this time last year I was able to celebrate with her. I missed a whole month of winter and spent the time in the company of some of the best friends I have ever had. Another of my friends turned 60 earlier in the year so some of us met up in Chicago to celebrate.
We all met working at the same international school in Bangkok, all of a similar age, all on our own, all looking for adventure. We travelled together in small groups thither and yon, soaking up the sights and cultures of the world, delighting in the food and doing our best to support village economies by buying local art and craft.
Several of us lived in the same building – it was a 12-story hotel of serviced apartments. We had a lounge and restaurant downstairs, room service, and small shop, pool, gym and best of all, a housemaid who came in once a week and did the cleaning, changed our bed linen and made sure everything was in order. Imagine that, no housework for almost 6 years!
There was a mall 10 minutes walk away where there was a variety of restaurants, 4 floors of shops, picture theatres, a supermarket – every material thing we could possibly want. Best of all was a team of well-trained masseuse who for a ridiculously small fee would give the most bliss-inducing foot-massage you can possibly imagine.
All of that and joys international travel and of living in Bangkok! Did we know how fortunate we were? Did we truly appreciate our relative wealth? Absolutely! There is not one of us who doesn’t appreciate that our privileged position is merely an accident of birth, a blessing so enormous . . . and yet often undervalued by so many.
If you are reading this, you too have a position of privilege – you have a computer, electricity, running water, a flushing toilet, you can read! If it’s winter you’ll be warm tonight and go to bed with a full stomach. You probably have access to health services, a car, and think little of it – you may think of it as your right.
Maybe you complain about maintaining what you have, a lack of money, how expensive everything is becoming, and have a whole raft of minor complaints about your weight or whatever. Just remember, if you have friends, you are privileged and you have choices – most of what you have and do is by choice.
Evaluate your life according to the criteria in this short 6-minute YouTube clip by Zig Ziglar – Evaluate Your Life. I’m extremely content . . . are you? I hope so.
My little corner of paradise on a winter’s day.