Life has been really hectic lately.
I’ve been finding myself exhausted more than usual lately and, despite the flurry of activity, have been suffering from a major case of the blahs. More often than not, after putting my son to bed, I find my evenings spent flinging myself onto the couch, sinking deep into the cushions, with little energy remaining to do much more than check Facebook on my phone, or flip aimlessly through Netflix with the TV remote. Needless to say, I have struggled to find the energy to write anything more than simply a grocery list lately. I am not sure if it’s the weather we have been having lately (it has rained for 28 out of the last 31 days…seriously). Or, if I am still run down from the cold upon cold we have all seemed to be fighting since school started. One thing is for sure, I am sick and tired of feeling sick and tired!
When I left work yesterday afternoon, I was riding the elevator down to the parking garage and as usual, it stopped on another floor. I work on the top floor of our building and there are only four floors but I have yet to make it down to my car without stopping on at least on other floor each day. I wasn’t in the best mood to begin with, as I felt a bit dizzy and feverish from the flu shot we had received at work that afternoon, and I was dreading the inevitable heavy traffic that was awaiting me on the highway on my commute home in the rain. Anxious to get home, I found myself somewhat annoyed that when the doors sprang open, there was nobody waiting to enter the elevator. Rather than press the button to close the doors, I slunk to the back of the elevator and leaned against the metal wall until the doors shut on their own. As they were just about to close I caught a glimpse of a tall, slender man with grey hair and a cane making its way towards the elevator doors. I launched myself across the elevator and managed to press the door open button before the doors closed.
Not expecting much more than a nod of courteous appreciation (if that), I was shocked to hear a loud and cheerful “Well, hello there!” and there entering the elevator was a sweet, elderly man with a cane in one hand, holding his son’s hand, as he was carefully guided by him into the elevator with the other. Taking one look at him, his eyes bright and his mouth in a wide smile, wrinkling the skin at the sides of his cheeks, my mood immediately changed. This older gentlemen was radiating happiness. The smile on his face was contagious and I couldn’t help but smile widely myself. I replied with a smile and a genuine “hello” and I found myself drawn to make small talk as the doors closed and the elevator began its descent.
We exchanged pleasantries and I remarked how it was raining once again, hinting at what a bummer that was. My new elevator friend, who, although much taller than me, was hunched over, looked up at me brightly, smiled again and said, “Really? I hadn’t even noticed, my dear” and once again I was impressed with his upbeat attitude and genuinely happy demeanour. I got off on the level my parking spot is located on, saying goodbye to my new friend and his son, and found myself smiling all the way to my car.
I spent the majority of my drive home in the rain thinking about that sweet, old man in the elevator. I thought about the recent slump I had fallen into, my lack of energy, sour attitude and my general displeasure for the weather, time of year, etc. I replayed the elevator exchange in my head, smiling again at the memory of the little old man’s exuberant greeting, and I felt myself snap out of it. My back straightened, my head raised and I straightened myself in the driver’s seat. I wanted to scold myself for falling into a rain-induced rut, dwelling on the weather and allowing it to affect my mood and attitude. My encounter, although insignificant and ordinary, with the elderly gentleman an hour prior in the elevator put everything into perspective.
Attitude makes you or breaks you.
The sweet old man was significantly older than I was, probably in his mid-80, and had likely experienced more rainy days and unfavourable weather than I could begin to imagine, not to mention all the other more significant troubles he had likely faced in his long life. Yet, this gentleman was the happiest person I had come across in a long time. His genuine good mood was not reliant on a good forecast, a winning lottery ticket or a favourable football match. His face exuded a warmth and kindness that is a rarity amongst people, especially strangers in an elevator, these days. He was happy simply to be alive and breathing, unconsumed or affected by something as trivial as the weather outside.
Without even trying, nor realizing it, that lovely, cheerful, older gentleman not only helped to pulled me out of my funk, he also made me cognizant of the fact that happiness truly is a choice, and I am not going to let the weather (or season) rain on my parade. ❤