When my favourite Coldplay's song played on my earphones while I am alone riding a bicycle to a road full of trees on my way, the sky was clear and the birds were chirping, I was wondering, how good can life get from this?
For a second I forgot about all the worries. Like, how are my dissertation going. What am I going to do for a living. Can I ever be falling again. With whom. Etc.
That moment has made me think, it is not the grandeur of superficial achievement that constructs contentment. It is the small mundane thing that matters the most. The ordinary everyday events that made up life.
I am not saying that the big thing in life does not matter, it does indeed. But those big milestones cannot stand by themselves, they are built upon smaller stones. And we cannot throw those small chunks overboard. I suppose, comparing to the big milestones, it is the small chunks of life that influence ourselves the most.
Imagine the things we wanted to achieve or places we wanted to be. Let it be the dream job, university, status, degree of wealth, holiday destination, or anything. Once we conquer those, I dare to say that we still won't be happy 24/7. Because the big picture cannot constantly determine our state of being, it is the smallest event that counts.
Like, the running rabbits in front of your flat. The unexpected loose of bike chains before going to the library. The reduced price of your favourite sandwich. The eureka moment when the deadline approaches. The warmth of Koyo on your sore feet. The rejected job application. The forgotten fivers in your pocket. The blooming flowers under the ray of sun. The short emails from your supervisor. The message that sent to the wrong people. The call from home. The hug from a friend. The unpretentious beauty of Scottish canal.
As the ordinary mundane event matters, it effortlessly came to my mind the idea of being more present in the present. There are too many times I immersed myself in the memories. I was happy in the past at such and such a time. Or times I fantasised about the future. I will be happy when I have done this, achieved that, went somewhere, and so on. Upon the tranquillity of the Clyde riverside, my inner guts told me to minimise those series of pleasant thoughts that distract my attention from the present. Because after all, no matter how unappealing the present may seem, it is the only moment that is real. I suddenly comprehend raison d'etre of the famous clichè phrase 'cherish every moment'.
As the gentle wind freshen up my mind, Mumford & Sons hijacked my earphones, I stumbled upon another realisation. It is not the title behind the name that makes a story. It is the human connection I made along the year. Other people may or may not notice how difficult it is for me to make new connections. As I am pretty reserved and timid, human interaction and socialisation have never become my strength. The way I talk or act often made myself cringe. In terms of human connection, I had expected nothing from this merely one year journey.
But it is when we are expecting the least, life gives us things more than we can imagine. I am not talking about the social networking with the big number of people for exact purposes. I am talking about the warm connections that made myself feel at home. The city itself has always amazed me with its hospitality. Let it be the people I don't know or the people I know. The people from here or from afar. This one single year makes me believe that, unlike Hobbes' conception of the state of nature, humans are basically kind. I don't know what makes people so kind and caring here though. Perhaps the tap water.
My smug self indeed had expected nothing from this one year journey. I thought I had enough close friends back home so that getting closer to new people was never my priority. Man, was I wrong. It is the camaraderie that keeps me going, keeps me sane. The sense of togetherness, the chat of desperation, the mutual respect and understanding, the companionship, the cordial relations. As a matter of fact, every person I have known here has a special place in my heart.
Speaking of human connection, I instantly remembered one of the TEDx speakers who spoke about his 75 years of studying people's life. He said, the clearest lessons that they got from three generation of researchers researching men's life is that: good quality relationship keeps people happier and healthier. The relationship here refers to the broad context. I recalled he mentioned something about the fact that people who are socially connected to family, friends, or community are happier and physically healthier. Now what he said totally makes sense to me.
As my mind wanders in the more indescribable manner, I appreciate every inch of the city. Three months left until I come back to my country. Three months is short. And the clock is always ticking.