By Mary Kerr
Are you having the most fantastic time?
I was talking to my Mum on the phone the other day. “Are you having the most fantastic time?” is what she opened with. This was quite a high level of enthusiasm for a grey Tuesday afternoon but I thought about it for a moment and then it dawned on me – actually, I am having a pretty fantastic time.
It later transpired that she thought that I was in Morocco with my Dad when we were, in fact, both sitting in his flat in London. But for that single opening moment I thought – what a lovely way to start a conversation. Not ‘How are you?’ not ‘What have you been up to?’ But – “Are you having the most fantastic time?!”
And so yes, I am having a fantastic time. I’m doing a course I’m loving. I’m married to a husband who is awesome. I have a wonderful step daughter who is just on the right side of crazy. I love my family. I’m mentally and physically stable. I live in a lovely apartment. I love my friends and I went to a Roxette concert the other night (which some would consider torture.) Of course there are days where I can feel stressed and overwhelmed and thoughts of being useless and hopeless creep in. Thoughts about needing to get in shape, of not dressing the right way, of not having a proper job, of not achieving enough. But it just takes that one simple moment to shift the perspective and connect to the good. Connect to the happy and connect to engaging the brain. It’s easy to disappear down rabbit holes when things get intense in life, looking for ways to connect by mindlessly choosing to do and to respond to life how others do – finding ourselves looking out from the viewfinder of an often dispirited society.
To be shaken to the core by colour and energy was how I felt when I went to India in 2015. It changed me. It knocked everything out of me. The chaos, the dust, the beeping horns. Amidst the chaos I felt at peace.
When I first went to India in 2012 with my best friend Tina, we stayed in the spare room of a lovely woman called Thomasina. At night we would need a torch as we returned home, trampling through a vast forest, pigs running across our path as we searched for the tiny cottage in the dark. I absolutely loved Thomasina and I always visit her if I return to the same town. She is like a force of joyous energy. I was lucky to go last December and my husband and I went to say hi in our final few days. When we reached the dusty lane leading to the forest we came face to face with about 5 bulldozers. Many of the trees had been cut down and 20 luxury huts were going up. No sign of Thomasina or her little cottage. Had Thomasina been bulldozed?! Had she been bought out for a large sum of money and was now on a speed boat somewhere in the Indian Ocean. Before we left Thomasina’s neighbour walked by and showed us a back path and there, right in the corner behind all of the the huts was Thomasina and her little cottage.
I was so mad for her and was thinking how I could represent her in a law suit but when I got there she was beaming. She said how excited she was that she was a part of this new resort, that she was meeting lots of great people and that now the pigs don’t get in the way. I don’t know if she will still be feeling the same way now, ten months on, but I realised that connection and happiness are a of course a personal thing. What makes one person happy could make another miserable. And even what seems like a simple day could be the most fantastic.
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