A few weeks ago when I was still in Perth I was sitting on a bench at a train station. I was waiting to meet up with a guy who was going to sell me his camera, but he was running a few minutes late. I bought a coffee to kill time and simply sat down, not playing with my phone for a change. There was a girl sitting next to me, but I didn’t really notice her until she asked me if I had a lighter.
When I turned around to look her in the eye, I saw the poor state she was in. A short, wrinkled dress with the seams coming off on one side and slippers that barely seemed suitable to walk on. In those few seconds when I turned towards her and looked her in the eyes to tell her I didn’t have a lighter, I felt sorry for her. I turned back to look in front of me, only to see her standing up and reaching out to another stranger to ask for a lighter. He shook his head to say he didn’t have one. She then looked at me again. I felt like I was supposed to say something, so I told her to walk to the nearby café and ask for one, because they’d surely have one. She then shook her head and with a slightly cracked voice she said she shouldn’t even be looking for a lighter to smoke because she’s pregnant. I wondered what I was supposed to say next, but I couldn’t bring out much more than “no, you shouldn’t” with a friendly smile. She then walked off, to the café I assume.
My own life felt like a roller-coaster at that time. In fact, it kind of was. It was two days before I’d move back to the Netherlands for good, not knowing what would be next and leaving everything I know behind once again. The encounter with this young woman however put my own life and troubles firmly into perspective. Yes, I didn’t know what’s going to be next for me, but yet I’m sitting there with enough money to buy an expensive camera, indulging in the luxury of a take away cappuccino and a flight back to the Netherlands on my name. Even though I felt a little lost, I was also full with energy, purpose and direction to make something out of my life no matter what. I assume by the looks of the girl that she was addicted. One of her front teeth was slightly cracked and even though I could see she was young, her face appeared rougher and more wrinkled than it should be at her age. Her appearance wasn’t what got to me most though. It was the sense of how sad and confused she really was. It sounds a little strange, but it was at that particular moment that I realized that I wasn’t nearly as lost as I thought I was.
I have no idea what her story is, but in the few minutes that I observed her I suddenly came to understand that the most important thing we have in life isn’t stability, money or a plan. It’s our state of mind and how we feel about ourselves. Everything else is detail. I also became aware of how easy it is to confuse things as essential as this: when our life is messy, it doesn’t mean that our mind has to be messy. Life is already tough enough sometimes, the best thing you can do is take care of your mind so it supports you instead of draining you.
The state of mind is where it all begins and ends. If you’re good in your head, you’ll make the right decisions for you. If you value yourself, you step out of any lifestyle that doesn’t make you happy. If you control your thoughts, you’re free.
Not only did I realize that the state of my life isn’t nearly as bad compared to many others, I also realized that I’ve got the most valuable asset there is in life. What’s even better is that I know that this asset can never be taken from me: a healthy state of mind. I have the guts to make the decision that I know is right even though it’s scary, I’m willing to fall into the unknown because of a bigger belief that things will turn out fine. I dare to dream and think bigger, not only about my life but also about myself and what I’m capable off. I truly believe that the mind is everything, whatever you believe you become.
The guy came out of the station and somehow knew I was the one waiting for him, I’m not sure how. He didn’t only sell me his camera for a very decent price, he also gave me a camera bag and several accessories with it for free. I then walked off with the camera bag on my shoulder and somehow I felt much lighter than I had felt in weeks.