I spent the weekend hiking. As always, spending time amongst others and walking in the forest, helped me recharge after months of ailments. We packed, drove off and gathered in a remote mountain village, far from everything that would resemble our everyday life.
The lodging was as it was, and as you would expect, when twenty people with different needs meet, we all started discussing the status quo. Could be cleaner, overall nice, not too luxurious, spartan as f*ck, waaaay too outdated, each with it’s own opinion… While we were wandering around the guesthouse, the owners were busy as bees setting up for us, turning on the heating system, fixing the boiler and trying to accommodate all our needs. So one point we could all agree on, that while conditions were poor, the owners were nice, so we declared an overall rating of “not that bad” to the place.
Waking up the next morning, sitting around the breakfast table, we were all relating our trials from the night before. Squeaking beds, cold rooms, adventures with the plumbing system. All this, while complaining about the fact that we got margarine instead of butter and the bread being too white (first world problems, right?). The house lady, still busy as a bee around us, asking us with a smile on her face, if we need more tea or coffee. I simply could not comprehend, how even against the fact that we were all judgemental, pretentious little pricks, she could still wear the most serene smile on her face and be so nice to us.
Returning from a full day hike, frozen to the bone, we were welcomed with a hot sauna and warm dinner on the table. While we were eating, she told us stories about her life. Tales of hardship, the difficulties of living off the land. They were working 24/7 on the land, in the forest, with the animals around the house. When tragedies hit, because this kind of life is prone to accidents, she told us how they got past it. Stories about the resilience of not only the human body, but also the human psyche. And suddenly, your problems are far from being problems anymore.
I spent the entire next day marching in the forest, thinking about what personality traits does one need, to have such an attitude towards life. This kind of humility, and being so humble towards others. Is it the religion? Is it the remoteness of living? Not having proper healthcare in the area makes you so much more vulnerable and acceptant of your own mortality? Does this awareness help reframe the big picture? Whatever might be, I surely still have a lot to learn…