Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A bedtime thought for May 12th...

A little perspective...
Mumbai, India

Most of you who know me and have been in touch recently are aware of why today was not one of my better days.

I spent the day at work -- thinking a lot about the direction in which my life appears to be going. On the one hand, I have a job I really enjoy for a company I like, my family is generally happy and healthy (knock on wood), and I have yet to really go in want of something I really desire in life (let's leave out, for a moment, the over the top fanciful items like the Gulfstream). On the other hand, the past few years have seen enough stress (the economic downturn of '01, the crazy exit from my previous employer, etc.) to cause me to lose more hair than has unmercifully already fallen, the long term performance of my overall investment portfolio remains anemic and pathetic, and I have yet to find success in relationships. The analysis that I ran through my head all had me feeling much worse for myself than perhaps would be warranted by a rational review. Yet, I left work and headed home this evening feeling like I had been defeated. I felt that my most recent life failures had left me an unfortunate and unusually unlucky man. A sad soul, lost, even if temporarily.

This evening, as I entered by bedroom to prepare for bed, I remembered a thought I wanted to share with all of you . Only a few hours before, I had returned home through the dusty streets of Mumbai in my comfortable German car. Yes, this was the car that I recently purchased because the late model Japanese car it replaced had "no soul," in my oft repeated opinion. This was the car I had purchased to help myself enjoy my life more.

My housekeeper was waiting for me to arrive home before leaving for the evening. As I took my blazer off, she asked rather meekly, "Sir, is it OK if I take the pillow you had thrown away home with me tonight." I remembered back to yesterday, when I had thrown away a spare pillow that had gathered a touch of mold. "This isn't safe at all," I had wondered while promptly discarding the pillow. As I wondered why would she could possibly want a moldy pillow, she told me about an old woman without any pillows that she was going to see. "She would really appreciate it, sir," my housekeeper continued. Lest she upset me for re-using something I had thrown out without my permission, she had asked. While suddenly feeling guilty for having thrown out something that perhaps many view as a luxury here, I quickly added another pillow to my housekeeper's bag to take over to this old pillow-less woman I would likely never meet.

The story I have just recounted has no real purpose, plot, or punchline. However, it did give me enough pause to ponder the fact that during a day when all the fancy material goods that surround me could not buy me a simple smile, a moldy pillow I had discarded would provide someone much less fortunate than me exactly the smile that had eluded me all day.

It is perhaps important, in these lives we lead, to take a step back and place our lives in perspective on occasion. It is with the perspective gained from a moldy pillow that I sign off tonight. And yes, I go off to bed finally with that simple smile on my face.

Good night everyone.

- Beej