I consider myself a cheerful person and my friends would say the same. It’s extremely easy to make me laugh (or I just surround myself with exceptionally funny people), and I tend to see the beauty in everything. Still, I caught myself being *stereotypically* negative and annoyed by a lot of things these past weeks. Truth be told, life did challenge me a lot: I’ve been bumped into without an apology, an elderly lady sitting next to me sneezed and proceeded to snort for 7 bus stops (refusing my tissue, which would’ve blown away the issue, pun and rhyme intended), and yes, I even said “You, too” when the barista told me to enjoy my coffee. It’s been a rough period. So, I decided to challenge myself to look for the most positive, most wholesome things for an entire week – maybe to restore my faith in humanity, maybe to return to being more cheerful, or maybe both.
Saturday & Sunday: Off to an unbelievable start
I originally wanted to start the challenge on Monday, but as I was sitting on the bus on Saturday, wholesome events started to unfold naturally.
First, I saw two elderly men at one of the bus stops, both in wheelchairs. As the driver helped them enter the bus, I accidentally locked eyes with one of them. I would usually look away in order not to make them uncomfortable, but before I could, he smiled at me. And then it hit me: although I could not offer him my assistance, let alone a cure for his legs, even a simple smile could make a difference in his day. So I smiled back before I shifted my attention to the window. A few stops later, I got off the bus. I looked at the elderly man once again – he was looking for me, leaning forward to get a glimpse. He held up his arm and waved at me, and I waved right back at him, continuing my way to the city centre on a much happier note.
Then I met the funniest little guy: he was about seven years old, and his brother around 12. He had a toy gun (which actually looked quite dangerous with weird, sharp metal pieces attached to its end) which he cocked as we were all waiting for a green light to cross the street. I jokingly gasped, and he apologized for scaring me. He assured me that it is okay to be scared of his toy gun, even he, himself got scared of it once. He told me all about it as we crossed, his brother looking amused and embarrassed at the same time as his little brother engaged in a very interesting conversation with a stranger. Then they both said goodbye and we went our separate ways. I immediately thought about this little boy’s future: he already possesses a skill most adults struggle with as he mastered the art of conversation very early, and will greatly benefit from it. I can only hope he gives up his passion for dangerous toy weapons, though.
Monday – Thursday: Fake it till you make it
Another week of work and school started, I suddenly found the notes I took about the unexpectedly wholesome weekend I had, and my heart skipped a beat: I forgot to track the random heartwarming scenes I encountered for almost the entire week. It made me wonder: have I had any? Did I forget something? I had pretty good four days, there must have been something…
But aside from that one time a little girl said hi to me in Auchan, I could not list anything in particular – at least not anything that others will find just as amusing as I did.
It also taught me a great lesson about happy moments: sometimes they are so small, that you cannot even recognize them on their own, but together, they create an environment for you to thrive in. I looked back at that week: my colleagues and teachers were helpful and kind, my room smelled like my favourite fabric softener from all the laundry I did, and I could do an extra round of crunches during my workout. Sometimes that’s all you need to have a good week, even if it’s not breaking news-worthy.
Friday & Saturday: End of the challenge
On Friday and Saturday, the weather was amazing, it was the weekend, and even the air had a particularly fresh smell. I did not feel the need to look for good things on purpose – things were good enough on their own.
Yet, still, when I was heading home on Saturday, I could not help but notice that almost every woman I saw had flowers in her hands – that weekend was Mothers’ Day and May 1st at the same time, and both call for flowers in Hungarian tradition. It was beautiful to see all those colourful bouquets and flowerpots as I was holding mine as well, and know how much appreciation and love each little petal represents.
All in all, I think it’s good practice to focus on the good things from time to time on purpose – but it’s just as good to observe events as they happen without any intentions in mind, so when a particularly wholesome thing happens, you’ll be even more taken aback by the unexpected beauty of everyday life.