As I was leaving the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington DC, I walked out to a long stretch of taxi cabs waiting to pick up their next passenger. The taxi cab I entered was driven by an older gentlemen and as I entered I began the trip cordially as I typically would any other trip. I asked the gentlemen how he was doing. His reply was, “I’ve seen better days and I’ve seen worse days.” I was a bit taken aback by his response as it appeared to me that something was bothering him. He asked me how I was doing and my reply is always “I am doing absolutely amazing. Any day on this side of the dirt is a glorious day to me.” He burst out in laughter.
“You know, I was having a bad day until you entered my cab.” he said. “Your perspective on life is pretty amazing.” he continued. I explained to him that no matter how difficult times may seem or how rough the waters may become, things will always get better if we don’t give up hope that they will. He went on to explain why he was having a rough day. He mentioned that a longtime friend who he had hired to do some work in his home had stolen money from him. He had a collection of silver dollars and Susan B. Anthony coins that were of incredible monetary and sentimental value to him and his now former friend had stolen them. I replied to him, “Maybe he needed it more than you did. Besides, money is replaceable, life isn’t. You may not have the money but you still have life. You can always earn more money but you can’t necessarily earn more life.” He slowed the cab down as he made eye contact through the rear-view mirror and said, “You’re right, you are absolutely right. I don’t feel bad anymore.”
The taxi cab ride continued for about ten minutes before I reached my final destination. I gave the driver a generous tip and said “Don’t worry about yesterday, you have no control over that. You do have control over how you react to your situation though. Choose to be happy because happiness truly is a choice.” He smiled and said, “You have truly made my day. Thank you so much for your words of wisdom.” As I exited the cab, I thought about all of the people in the world who allow the small things to seem bigger than they really are. In your lifetime, you will lose friends, family, money and things you hold near and dear to your heart; that’s a natural fact. The key is to not get so attached to the material things that you forget to place value in the people who really matter including yourself.
Maintain the understanding that if you are on this side of the dirt, there is still a chance that you can do something about your circumstances. Furthermore, being on this side of the dirt is reason enough to celebrate and be thankful.
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