Monday, 12 March 2018

Happiness is...

A friend of mine was giving me an advice the other day. We were talking about my total inability to save any money. I spend it all, always! I said to her and she listed a bunch of things that I often talk about me doing, which she finds a total waste of money. Like having a party and inviting people over. Look, she said. You keep telling me you end up inviting people more often than they ever invite you! And you know why, right. Is because they are smart and saving for their future, while you are like, you know, that stupid butterfly. 

The butterfly reference (for those of you without soviet background) is from a very famous old fable by Krilov, “A dragonfly and an ant”. It basically tells a story about a dragonfly (actually, a butterfly makes so much more sense here, no idea why he never thought to use it instead of a dragonfly. Never liked Krilov, to be honest.) who spent all summer flying around, not worrying about future only to be dying from freezing cold weather in winter. She crawled to the ant, who had spent all summer working hard building himself a warm place, and asked for shelter. The ant, miserable bastard, looked at her, gleefully, and pointed out that she should have not been partying all summer.  “So, why don’t you go do some dancing now, eh? “He said (asshole). 

OK, so this friend of mine… she is often blunt-it is a Soviet/Russian thing in all of us-but she does have a point, of course.

However! (My favourite word)

I do have a logical (to me, anyway) explanation for my dragonfly behaviour. I tend to do things that make me happy, now.  It is all about experiences. And sharing food and drink with friends is one of those pleasures in life that I really enjoy.

The reason I have been discussing and thinking about savings vs enjoying life at the moment is because I just had a fantastic experience. I was sitting at home one afternoon, texting my mother on Whats App, when she mentioned a nice Georgian restaurant she was planning to have her birthday dinner at, just her and my cousin with her daughter. As I imagined the three of them celebrating together I had this overwhelming urge to be there too. You wouldn’t even believe how little time it took between the second that thought slipped into my mind and me booking my ticket. I looked and Qatar Airways had some special deal on. I also remembered I had air miles. And there we were- the plan was formed, time off from work and tickets booked, and the fun began. 

I managed to keep my upcoming 4-day visit a total secret, even from the cousin in Baku. “Record her reaction!” all my friends said, but I wanted to be mindful about it, or simply speaking, focus on experiencing it, rather than messing about with the phone.

I really was enjoying my little surprise plan! I created a cover story of a Russian friend visiting Baku and bring a gift from me, so I kept the story going till the very end, texting my poor mother from the airport asking whether the friend had called yet??!!

 “No? How bloody rude! She promised to be there by 12!”

When I finally reached the apartment, I was giddy and impatient.

I rang the doorbell and hid from the view. Who is it? She asked and I used a fake silly voice to confuse her once again. 

The shock and delight on her face when she saw me! I should have recorded that.

There was some silly jumping up and down from me, while shouting I was there for the whole 4 days! as well as tears from my mother, still unable to believe I was suddenly standing there.

To me, life should be about moments like that. Being able to surprise someone you love. Being able to spend four days with your mother, especially when you live away from home, and busy with your own children. Being able to treat you favourite cousin, who doesn't have a job at the moment, to a few dinners and drinks out. 

Now, could I afford that trip, together with all the dining out- pretty much non-stop? Well, it depends on who and how looks at life and finances. To me, it was important and special and totally worth it. To someone else perhaps it would be an extravagant thing to do. But what makes you- and people you love happy today is just as important, if not more than some hypothetical happiness in the future you may never reach.

A good Canadian friend of ours likes to say that he feels he is rich enough if he can afford a round of beers. I maybe suck at saving money but I am happy that i can invite friends for dinner, and fly home for my mother's birthday. Because those are the moments that matter. 

1 comment:

  1. You are right indeed! Life is made up of moments. It's up to us to take them and cherish for a lifetime or just let them pass by. You made your mom happy, and gave her a suprise neither of you will ever forget.