It was Saturday night. I was 16 years old and I was having a mini-crisis.
I had nothing to do!
I couldn’t reach my friends (pre cell phone days, if you could believe there was a time) and I was moping around the house when my grandparents came by. My grandmother looked at my expression and asked what was wrong.
“I have nothing to do and its Saturday night” I kvetched, expecting some good old-fashioned grandmother sympathy.
She looked up nostalgically. I knew that look. She survived multiple concentration camps as she experienced adolescence during the Holocaust. I could tell when a memory was coming on. She said, almost to herself, “When I was your age, I wish I had nothing to do on a Saturday night.”
Checkmate. Depression over. Bring on the leftovers and reruns.
I never forgot that moment. It hits me every time the normalcy of my life is threatened. Whenever life throws me a curveball, I am painfully reminded that I haven’t been taking enough pleasure in every day life. By focusing on what’s next, I forgot what is now. I would find myself praying that if it can go back to “normal”, I would appreciate how amazing every moment could be. I would stop waiting for the “next thing” to make me happy and start being happy right now.
This past week, I was in an elevator on the 15th floor of an office building when the earthquake hit. The building started to shake. In a moment, a silent elevator ride with blackberry focused strangers became 25 seconds of group prayer as we all stared at the box of digital numbers and hoped for “L” . As hundreds of people piled out of the building, I sat there, on a patch of grass a hundred or so feet from the building, and found myself just wanting to go back to normal. Nothing more. Just back to normal.
Now we are gearing up for Hurricane Irene. Apparently my house is a high risk zone and we were told we may have to evacuate. What will happen? What damage can we expect?
All I can think of is, I just wanted it to go back to normal. How I wish for normal.
This time, I promise myself, when the hurricane is over, I will appreciate what I have. I will enjoy every moment. I will be happier with a normal day.
I guess until the next time.