The Balinese Manicurist

Do you ever feel like you want to quit your job, leave everything and go to a new country? Do you ever think about that as a possibility, a hope or a dream? You may think that only those who have something missing in their lives might have such thoughts, perhaps even just those of us who simply want more no matter what? The truth is that no matter how hard we try, we are all tracing our fingers around the rims of doubt in life. We always look to the other side and think that it might be better. So we catch ourselves wondering “what if” somedays. Wonder is healthy, when it allows us to grow within who we are and what we can be; on the other hand, avoiding wonder all together might be a recipe for growing too attached to the status quo with a toxic submission to life as though we are its victims. There is a balance and the key is to learn how to navigate that.

Balance comes in various forms, that match how we choose to live. Wanting to change our lives requires a lot of work, it also requires an understanding. Some of us acknowledge that rim, we understand that ledge of doubtful oblivion and how too much doubt can lead to the destruction of our lives rather than improvement. So we teach ourselves to be grateful for what we have.

We have a good tendency to take for granted the blessings in our lives. Looking out of the windows too long makes us forget about the house we live in.

Decisions we make become our lives, and the houses we build become our homes. Essentially what we prioritize is what we live for and there is nothing wrong with that. So if you list your priorities right now, do they match your life? Consider this:

A Balinese manicurist wishes she could leave. She wants to travel to work in Turkey. I asked her “Are you happy in Bali?”, she said “Yes, but I don’t have money.”

In Turkey she will have money, that’s what her friend who already works there told her. She pauses, her smile still wide on her face, “but there’s something else, my friend, she cry every night on telephone, tells us I miss this, I miss that! But she makes money.” I smiled and looked back at her, “So here in Bali you can have happiness but not money, and there you will have money but no happiness.” “That’s right!”, she responds still laughing. She then sends me a look, “Unless I meet people like you everyday, then I will be OK; I can make extra money with more people.”

Maybe happiness is talking about not having money with a smile on your face, it is the ability to laugh despite your struggle, and deciding to figure it out no matter how difficult it might be.

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