The game-changing mindset shift that changes your world

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Photo by Simon Berger on Unsplash

Her brown fluffy coat was a great choice this morning. The weather started to change quickly into autumn. The wind was picking up and blowing through the narrow streets of the town. It might start to rain in just a few minutes as well. If she hadn’t had this bear-like coat she would be shivering by now. Luckily she didn’t. Her small heels clicked on the ground as she made each step. She loved the sound of clicking heels. She had been walking through the town to do some window shopping. The girl wasn’t looking for anything in particular but wanted to move and get some new inspiration for outfits.

The houses of her home town always sparked joy in her. The brick style walls, with different colored bricks and rough edges, were her favorite. The pointy roofs and the decorations all over the window frames and gutter. White painted wood that was cracking open and almost needed a new lick of paint. Some windows had closed curtains, others were open and she looked inside. People doing their thing and some plants greeting her in the window. Oh, how she loved plants. Each house was a little bit different from the other, some ugly to her taste, some beautiful. But that was just her taste.

“I hate this weather.” Someone behind her said. Her body shivered a bit as she was shocked by the loud voice that had just said that. “Yeah, it’s way too cold out, and man that wind is awful!” Another voice replied. The girl listened to the two voices continuing their conversation. “I wished summer was longer here in the Netherlands.” The lower voice of the two, likely one of a man, said. “Yeah, summer is never long enough, autumn and winter come way too quickly. I just hate how you feel drowsy and lazy in these seasons.” The other voice said loudly as if she, or he, was trying to get some attention from passing pedestrians. The girl decided to let them pass as she wondered if she was feeling drowsy and lazy too. She couldn’t remember a moment in which she felt anything like that.

She turned left into another alleyway trying to avoid the two people. She hated it when people were talking loud and noisy just to get some attention from others. She felt that she was getting a bit frustrated and angry. She saw a little cat licking herself underneath a bench and the anger and frustration faded. “Hello little one,” she said. But the cat would rather not be interrupted. “That was fine,” she thought to herself. I wouldn’t like it either to be interrupted whilst having my bath. A few houses further a man with a camel coat on sat next to another man, most likely his friend, that was wearing a shirt with a small logo on his right breast. They sat in the company of a steaming hot cup of coffee, talking. The girl could hear what they were talking about as she passed by. She felt a bit guilty for once again listening to other people’s conversations, but could help herself.

“This coffee is way too hot!” The man with the camel coat on said. The other nodded and said, “yes I hate it when your coffee is too hot.” “Yeah” the other replied instantly both feeling the same and frustrated. “I neither like a lukewarm cup as well. The coffee tastes so bad that way.” The girl now wondered if this man liked coffee in the first place? “If he didn’t like it too hot or too cold it would be a hard thing to satisfy this man. And that’s only the way he likes his coffee, think about all the really bad things that could happen to him” she thought.

The girl walked on leaving both the two men and the two other people behind her. She sighed, feeling annoyed that it was so cold out. Her hands were getting white and they felt stiff. She placed them in her pockets, but still, her face was cold. She was getting more and more annoyed.

Oh, how others can shape our perspectives. The girl didn’t even notice, but as she heard more and more conversations of people complaining she started to feel the same. Complaining more about the weather, the other people, her shoes were hurting her feet. The day got worse and worse.

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A dance at the square

The girl decided to go back home. Moving towards the train station. She passed by the two men again and accidentally bumped into the two other people as well. She now saw that one of the two was indeed a man with a long beard, the other person was a woman holding his hand with long red-colored hair. She looked away and felt annoyed by even seeing them again.

She turned around the corner and she saw a woman of about 50 years old in the middle of the square. She sang and whistled a bit and softly moved her legs. Gently dancing and enjoying herself. It was freezing on the square because the wind was coming from all the streets and alleyways straight into the center bouncing off, all the walls. But the women she didn’t seem to care. She danced and whistled without any headphones. She looked at the few trees on the square. One was yellow the others already turned orange of color. She picked up a leaf and held it up to the sky. As she did that she saw how the girl was looking at her. She smiled. With such a warm smile that even the girl felt joyous. But she didn’t smile back. The women frowned and in her eyes you could see the confusion. But the frown quickly disappeared and the women waved at the girl and then continued to dance and whistle. She was kind of a weirdo. The girl thought to herself.

The girl didn’t realize that she was so drawn to the woman that she continued staring at her. Staying frozen on the side of the square. As if the wind howling through the streets had gotten to her, piercing through her teddy bear-like coat and frozen her limbs in place. The women had long greyish hair and wore stained blue jeans, with brown leather cowboy boots underneath. The women saw how the girl was still staring at her. She turned around in a smooth dance movement and laughed to herself. She knew the girl was looking at her but liked it. She felt a sort of presence in the girl, one that she recognized from a younger version of herself. So she decided to ask her over. She turned around again with a pirouette and waved to the girl again. The girl smiled gently, barely visible from such a distance.

The woman made a gesture with her hand, indicating that the girl should come over. She wasn’t certain if she had to do it. So she turned her gaze away and walked on. Just as she was about to leave the square she stood still. In doubt. Not sure if this was the right choice. She had some weird feeling that leaving wasn’t the right thing to do. So she turned around and was delighted by the women dancing again. She didn’t care whether or not I came over. The girl felt offended and that was her call to go to the women and tell her she was a weirdo. She walked towards her with large steps, heavy clicks of her heels drew the attention of the women. She smiled and made a small shrug with her shoulders out of joy.

Her younger self

“I saw you looking at me” the women spoke with a raspy voice, indicating that she had smoked for quite some time. “ “Yeah I was” the girl replied, “sorry for that, I was drawn to your attitude and dance.” “Wasn’t it beautiful?” The woman asked the girl. “Hmm, I wouldn’t say beautiful, but it was most certainly unique.” The girl said jokingly, breaking the uncomfortable feeling she had towards the women. “Hahahaha, you’re right. It is a bit silly, to be honest with you but I just love it too much to not do it.” The woman said looking down to the ground feeling a bit ashamed. There was a silence between the two women.

“Would you sit with me for a moment?” The women then abruptly broke through the silence. The girl startled by the abrupt change, but quickly tried to hide this from the women. “Yeah sure,” she said, not sure of what she was doing. The ground was cold and she felt her body getting colder, and colder by the minute. “Don’t you love the weather?” The women interrupted the girls’ thoughts. “No I hate it, its way to cold and… the girl stopped talking as if she had just witnessed a thief steal someone’s bag. “What’s wrong the women asked?” “Hmm nothing, it’s just that…” The girl felt silent for a moment again. “I just remember how happy I was at the beginning of my walk with this amazing comfy jacket. I was in love with the weather and everything, but as I walked through the city I started to get more and more annoyed with everything.” She paused again for a minute reflecting on everything she had done. The older woman had a look in her eyes that almost felt as if she was in love with the girl. The girl just looked and felt like her younger self, quickly annoyed by the world and complaining even though she knew she didn’t want that. “I think that all the people around me that unconsciously influenced how I felt.” The girl said with a sad tone in her voice.

The woman nodded and understood what the girl was feeling. She too had gone through this. She knew how most of the people in the world are constantly dissatisfied with everything. “I love the weather.” The woman then spoke with joy in her voice. The girl had to smile. “I love how the wind blows through my clothes and tries to take them with him. I love how the birds float on top of it and the trees rustle as the wind passes. I love how it brings fresh air and new clouds every minute.” She looked up for a moment and so did the girl. Both of them staring and the clouds moving by with increasing speed. “Isn’t it beautiful?” The women asked. “Well, if you explain it like that everything is beautiful isn’t it?”

“Exactly!” The woman said as if she had just found out the solution to the world problem. “Everything is beautiful, it is.” She continued. “You remind me of myself. I was just like you years ago. I was happy and joyful with the world but each day I got increasingly more annoyed and frustrated. Complain more easily and worrying a lot. It was as if through the day energy was escaping my body taking the colors of the world with it. I didn’t like the weather, it was either too hot or too cold, never just right. I never had enough time to do everything I wanted. I hated everything bad that happened to me and tried to get rid of it as quickly as possible.” The woman took a deep breath looking deep into the girl’s eyes, the girl felt a bit scared. She released a deep sigh and then said: “But not longer, no longer do I look at the world that way.” There were confidence and strength in her voice. A power only a woman could possess. It was both gentle and strong at the same time.

You decide

The two women sat there for some time after the women had just said that she no longer looked at the world that way. The girl didn’t know what to say so they both stared at the clouds. They were fluffy and moved by so quickly. This was the only reminder for them to continue their conversation. Otherwise, they would have sat there for hours. Forgetting about the world.

“Why did you dance and whistle?” The girl asked, instantly feeling stupid for asking. She had already asked this but in different words and now she ruined the moment. The woman looked at her and smiled. “I do it because I choose to look at everything with positivity and joy. Dancing and whistling make me happy and that keeps me smiling throughout the day. Now don’t think of me as a weirdo or a guru knowing how to be happy all the time. It was only a few months back that I learned to be happy with whatever comes at me.” A small tear rolled down the woman’s face. “This year has been the worst and the best year of my life.” She said with tears not gushing down her face. “I am sorry, I didn’t want to cry. It has been the worst year of my life because I lost my job, my husband, and most of my friends during the Covid pandemic. I lost my job because the place I worked at couldn’t pay me any longer. I lost my husband because I had been complaining and being negative for the past few years and when I lost my job this all got even worse. He didn’t take it any longer and I gave him all the rights to leave me. Now because of everything that happened some friends didn’t want to see me any longer. So they too drew back, they weren’t real friends after all, but I hadn’t been a real friend to them either. So I can’t blame them.” The look on the woman’s face now changed. A small smile appeared on her face and the tears rolling down her face started to be tears of joy.

“But at the same time, I have found real joy. All of this happening in such a short period of time smacked me with my face into a wall. It made me realize all the beautiful things I already had. A beautiful husband, a loving job, friends, and a beautiful life with no worries at all. But still, I wasn’t content. I still complained about almost everything, especially the small things. What you noticed today in all those people was how I have been for years. Constantly complaining about everything. Always seeing the glass half empty instead of half full. That’s why I now dance. I have decided to change. There is nothing left for me to live for because a very important thing has been taken from me. Yet the most important thing remained there. It has always been there, and that is life itself. Each experience. Everything I used to complain about I now see as a blessing.” The woman smiled with such joy that the pigeons on the square were drawn to her energy. The girl sitting next to her was deeply moved and felt the same joy as this woman felt.

“Life is a wonder. A wonder at play each day and you have your role to play. You can decide which role that is.” The woman said as if she was a poet. “I wanted you to come over because I felt drawn to you. I loved that you took the time to watch me dance. Not many people do that. They just laugh and point at me thinking I am weird. But you decided to look and not give any response. You just let it happen. That is the most important thing. Let everything happen and decide how you want to react to it.” The girl smiled feeling warm and fulfilled by the kind words of the woman. “Thank you for those amazing words.” The girl said. She hugged the woman even though she knew this wasn’t normal anymore. They both had tears in their eyes, having formed a bond with so little time. “Thank you too,” the woman said. “Please remember this, that you decide how to look at things. You decide if you love something or not. You decide if you love the weather if you love the clothes you wear or the life you live in. Each day is a blessing trust me. Some day you will lose a lot in your life, if not everything. This sounds shit but if you by then have found a place of the mind in which everything can bring you joy and meaning you will have nothing to lack even at that moment.”

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Think wisely and decide

You can decide how to look at things. This is the whole reason why I started Today I Lived. To remind me and others that each day we live and that each day we should strive to find the beauty in everything. Finding the beauty in living. I have made-ups and down in this. Some days feeling shit and seeing everything as negative and bad. Hating the rain and complaining about everything. But each time again, no matter how long I have been down, I get back up.

The last year of my life has been mentally tough for me. I had everything I desired. Nothing to lack, but still I felt out of balance. I wasn’t feeling myself but as I started writing again I understood how blessed I was. I started being grateful for things each day and that small thing grew, and grew, and grew. I now notice that I am finding the beauty in everything without any effort again. Often responding to a negative commentary with a positive side effect. It is building up again.

I have decided to look at the world full of wonder, full of joy and happiness. Finding the beauty in living, in everything that life throws at me. No matter what happens. Life is beauty. Because remember dear readers, today you live!

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