On the Kindness of Strangers
Recently, I read (somewhere where I can’t remember) that you can’t be both wise and young. If you’re young, you don’t have the life experience to be wise. Wisdom only comes with age. Thinking you know it all at a young age leads to cynicism- which isn’t wisdom at all. In fact, the piece said, cynical people are actually fools.
Here’s a confession: I have a tendency to be cynical. It’s a gross attribute I’ve acquired in adulthood and I really dislike it about myself. I can’t tell if it’s from moving to Britain where cynicism runs as wide as the Thames or the parting gift I took with me from my first job... but it doesn’t really matter where it came from, it’s my own problem.
Today, I was in the tube home, trekking across London with a heavy baby and groceries. She was waking up and fussy, and it wasn’t a dream scenario. I started to get grumbly about the situation, and decided to try and refocus on what was making today good... rather than mentally jumping down the Rabbit Hole of frustration.
So I started thinking about all the kind people that had gone out of there way today- for my benefit. The nice man on the tube that moved away from the wall so I could set down my bags and lean against it. The sweet lady who offered to help me if I needed anything as Edie got upset. The nice girl who helped me check out at Marks & Spencer. I realised I’d not grabbed a bottle of water for the journey home and she ran across the store for me to get it. The handsome husband of mine who picked me up from the tube station because it was really cold out.
Okay, so no grand gestures- but the coziness of the collective people doing small things for others. And me getting to the recipient of their kindness. It was just a nice reminder that what we focus on is, often, our choice.
Things are tough. I know they are, you know they are... but things (and people) can also be really good. And I’m trying to find the joy in that rather than the shortcomings of the people and things around me.
Do you have any good practices for choosing joy in your daily routine? I’d love to hear them, if so. I think it’s something we (read: I) could use a lot more of!
*images original to Aspiring Kennedy