A few days ago I pulled out some of my old journals and writings. It’s fascinating reading over previous experiences and adventures, sometimes it feels, like for a brief second, that I go back to that moment…
I was 16 years old. I had been saving up to take a Greyhound to Tijuana, Mexico and I finally made it happen. For the week that I stayed there I had the opportunity to meet a lot of people and travel around the area and up and down the coastline.
It is quite amazing the diversity of living conditions in and around Tijuana. I was able to meet and spend time with people who had a rather lavish lifestyle which consisted of fenced off communities and people waiting on them. At one point I spent a day with people who had next to nothing by our standards.
Holes in the ground acted as toilets and heated up water in a basin acted as a bath. Sure Tijuana is a growing tourist spot, but drive a little ways out and nestled in the hills you will find lean-tos with people living there. Cruising down Avenida Revolucion people are spending money left and right, while some miles away people are living on very little if any money at all…
Anyways, during parts of the day I would walk around and spend some time and get to know the locals.It was amazing to see their attitude towards life.
A lot of these people whom I encountered didn’t have much but at the same time, they were some of the happiest people I have ever met. It is as if their lack of material possessions transcends to a larger love of life. Their value and love for friends and family is tremendous.
I was back in Tijuana again as I read through my journal entries, reliving all of this. I remember being thrown back by the positive loving spirit that all of these people have.
In my journal I wrote about a conversation with one specific old man who I felt best exemplified that way of thought.
I was walking down a street nearby the place that I was staying at. There was a bus stop and next to it stood an old weathered looking man in some stained and tattered clothing.
You wouldn’t believe it but there he stood, just waiting and smiling. Curious me wandered over and started a conversation trying to get a better sense for this man. We spoke for a brief amount of time getting acquainted and getting to know each other. He was so full of knowledge and energy. Near the end he made some statements that really changed my outlook on life.
The following is directly from my journal. I wrote this later that same day. I wrote down what he said in English to the best of my ability what I hoped most true to how he conveyed it:
“You know I’ve lived my entire life struggling and working and it’s all been worth it. For every day I worked and struggled I gained another day to live. You might think I’m poor but I’m not. I have so much and I am grateful. Clothes on my back and good health are all I really need. These days’ people are so blind. So blind that they don’t see and they end up slipping in their own puddles of mistakes, lies and confusion. They never learn to step aside and walk around it by being truthful to themselves and being grateful.”
It is amazing how some one with nothing can be so grateful and happy. I hope that one day I can lead a similar happy life.