I promised myself on the 31st of December that I was going to write a blog post every week about happiness. I mainly want to do it for my own personal wellbeing (seeing things written down is always good for making sure they last for more than a second in my goldfish brain) but if they are interesting or can help other people then that’s super groovy.
52 weeks means 52 different ways I coax/trick/apply my mind to getting that little zing of happiness emanating from my face.
#1 You can always find the chink of rainbow
I want to take you back to 2009 I’ve just arrived in India on my cycle ride – I’m lying in a bed with 2 others in the room in pitch darkness. We share a room that’s simple, a little dirty, a TV set rings out at top volume. I wonder if they have the sound so loud as a way of bragging to their neighbours that they own a TV.
The echoes of their vomiting and diarrhea still ring around the room. They’re sick. Very sick. The street foods had left them with an almighty delhi belly. They’d shared and some time fought for the toilet bowl but they seem to have fallen asleep so I lie down to get my own rest. I’d cycled 100km this day and I needed it.
My head hits the pillow and I feel sleep wash over me. But then something hits me in the face. It’s small but wakes me straight away. I brush it off. But another takes it’s place. I swear under my breath and mutter ‘Bed Bugs’. My trip had been tainted with them. The heat of Asia and cleanliness in the cheap places I stay is the perfect breeding ground.
I thought about turning the light on and seeing how bad the bed was but the smell of vomit put me off. I couldn’t wake the guys now. They needed their recovery. So I rummaged around on the floor, found my pannier (a bag you strap to your bike) and inside my roll matt. I rolled it out on the mattress hoping it would stop the bugs from getting to me so easily. I lay down again and again I felt the bugs landing on my face. The worst was when they jumped right into the tear duct. I’d grab the bugs between my fingers and squish them with my nail to make sure they didn’t bother me again.
Eventually exhausted I fell asleep.
Waking the next morning as the sun filled the room I walked in my boxers to the bathroom, glancing at the broken shard of mirror as I walked past. Arriving at the drop toilet the image I had seen in the mirror registered in my mind. I looked about 30 years older. I stepped back and I wasn’t mistaken. My beard and hair had turned white overnight. I peered closer and as my nose was about 30cm from the shard of mirror I realised that my hair and beard were teeming with maggots. They’d been dripping from a rotten beam above my bed all through the night.
This was really gross and one of the worst ways to wake up in the morning. 99% of my body was repulsed by the fact I had maggots all over my face. But this one tiny part of me that had learnt to see through the eye of a journalist saw this as a story, the rainbow in the grey. A positive slant on what was happening. 1% thought this is going to make the very best update on social media.
Instead of trying to brush the maggots out, I began stopping them from dripping from my beard on the floor, cupping my beard to keep them inside. Shouting to the guys in the other room I asked them to get the camera. I didn’t care whether they were still sleeping. I wanted to turn this situation on it’s head.
Whether you have been made redundant or your dream somehow stalls, or you wake with maggots all over you face. You can always find a tiny positive – maybe your next job is the dream job, maybe that dream was based around ego and you didn’t really feel it in your belly and maybe you’ll get a maggot infused facebook profile picture that goes viral.
When something less than ideal happens this week try and write down a list of 5 positive things that could come out of this one bad thing! It doesn’t matter how farfetched or ridiculously small – they just might be the most important thing you’ve been looking for.
If you’d prefer to hear these stories from Danny in person click here.