Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Perspective, perspective, perspective...

There have been many instances in my life where people offered me the most useless advice ever. "It's all good, Sina, other people are starving or dying!" Yes, I always thought, other people might not have stupid problems like me, but I usually doubted that their poverty or sickness made them unhappy people, because I believe it doesn't usually make you unhappy to have less of a thing than me. I've seen many poor, sick people who have kicked my butt in terms of happiness, and so I always thought this advice was faulty and useless. My happiness cannot be defined by how unfortunate other people are. And then I came to Macedonia, watched people run for their life, and suddenly that mind set became a new one...

Yesterday, I lost my phone and I'm too poor to buy a new one. Being in a situation that couldn't be worse financially makes me feel everything from despair to unhappiness. The situation is brightened by the fact I do what I'm supposed to, still, waking up with no money to make a plan for my life that exceeds the next two weeks is not ideal. And then, for the first time in my life, I actually had to stop being unhappy about it because I considered the fate of the people I am currently working with. And I find it impossible to be upset about losing a phone when the people around me have lost everything, from A to Z.

I'm still not happy about losing my phone, but I'm currently traveling the Balkans in search of the real story, and that is the refugee crisis. I have recently been talking to men and women that left Aleppo, the West Bank or even the Balkans because their survival in their home country was impossible to sustain. One man said "I knew I was possibly going to die leaving Syria, but if I had stayed I'd be dead already!" At the border of Greece and Macedonia people are stacking up to catch a ride to the Serbian border, with nothing but a small backpack on their back. For me, who is watching this process for a living, it'd be genuinely f*** up to keep being upset about my ridiculous phone.

We don't find happiness if we compare our lives to those who have better lives than us, right? As a result, I never believed that comparing my life to those less fortunate than me could contribute to my happiness. Since this extraordinary experience I, however, beg to differ. In Kenia I made the observation that those kids I was teaching in the slums of Nakuru were less wealthy, but more fortunate than me when it came to knowing what makes one happy. And here in South East Europe, being happy isn't even the objective anymore. The refugees I encounter are no longer looking for happiness. All possession and fulfillment has left the equation of their life. Right now, the only equation that needs to be solved should end in x = survival. 

So yeah, I'm ridiculously poor, I have a pretty tough future looking ahead and things definitely could be a bit more comfortable. As soon as I even say this sentence I feel disgusted by myself. While that sentence is definitely true, I should be careful with what kind of energy I'm playing with right now, because everyone around me would love to switch lives with me. It might be ok for me to feel this way when I'm in Germany, surrounded with my rich friends who have no care in the world, but right now I have no right to complain, because I know better. So when you know better, you change the way you lived. And so have I...

Photos Courtesy Of Reuters

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