The best lessons in life are often the most painful ones. Perspective is such a lesson for me. Hopefully, you can learn something from the plethora of mistakes this writer has made in his life. This is one of the most embarrassing ones and still causes shame and remorse to this day.
Let's conduct some backstory on this. I was living in Barcelona at the time. I was sharing an amazing brand new construction four bedroom apartment literally on the beach with my best friend. Said best friend also strongly desired a romantic relationship with me as well, but I just wasn't really interested in that. I was more focused on getting to intimately know every female Catalan between the ages of 18 and 60. Bringing a revolving door of women back to our place naturally put some strain on our friendship, as female jealousy seriously puts a dent in one's game. Our bickering got to the point that we agreed that perhaps a change of scene might be good for us. It was Easter holiday, so we decided to go to Madrid and just get out of Dodge for a while.
Madrid is amazing. As someone who fiercely loves Barcelona, Madrid is a wonderful city. I should have been having the time of my life. Instead, I was being mopey, annoyed that I was stuck with my best friend exploring museums, eating at incredible restaurants, and doing shopping that would have made Edward Lewis be envious. My best friend was doing her absolute best to have a great time and trying to be cheerful and adventurous. I was too busy feeling sorry for myself. I found myself walking down Calle de Serrano with arms laden with bags from Hermes, Ermengildo Zegna, Hugo Boss, etc. My best friend had her arm around me and was chattering away of what seafood restaurant we should try that evening. My frown was only surpassed by my terse one worded responses to her. And then I saw something that stopped me in my tracks.
Across the street standing at the corner was a beggar. He was holding his begging cup in his mouth.The reason why he was doing this was because he had no arms. And a lightning bolt of shame struck me.This guy could not even wipe his own ass. You can't fake no arms when you're wearing a tank top. It brought me back to the days when I was young roaming the streets of Seongnam stealing food and rummaging through trash. Here I was, holding items of obscene and gross consumption, walking with a beautiful woman who was madly in love with me, and I was angry at life?!?!?
I looked over to my best friend. I apologized profusely for being an asshole. I committed to making the rest of our trip a terrific one. I crossed the street and put all the cash I had in my wallet inside his cup. His eyes got big and he started to thank me, but I thanked him instead and told him he helped me far more than I could ever help him. I have tried to apply perspective in my life from that point forward. Sure it gets difficult at times, all the annoying first world problems that seem to cross my path. But I just think about that man, and I realize I'm one of the luckiest people that's ever walked this earth.
Some of us have had difficult experiences that cause us to walk around with chips on our shoulder. I've had more than my fair share of moments like this in my life. But even in your darkest moment, would you trade places with my friend on the corner in Madrid? If not, then perhaps maybe what's angering us isn't as bad as we think it is.
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