The other day I was walking around on the streets of one of the poorest countries on this planet.
You see many things on these streets. Wonderful things. Beautiful things. Heartwarming things. Happy things. Scary things. Sad things. Things that tear your heart apart. Things that will make you cry.
While walking on these streets I had to think about the small things in life. Many times. The things that shed the light on humanity. That put the spotlight on humanity. On all of us. No matter how rich or poor.
The things that make you feel connected to a stranger on the streets. Where you feel that we're all somehow connected.
I can't really explain it. But it's a great feeling. One of the best feelings on this planet. A feeling I haven't had in a long time. A feeling I haven't had rushing through life being busy thinking about the next project. The next deadline. The next blog post. The next book to publish. Or where the next paycheck might come from.
Over the past few months, years or maybe even decades I was too busy worrying about myself. I was too busy helping myself. Instead of others. I was busy making sure that my life went well. And forgot others along the way..
These streets. These beautiful streets. These streets that can either kill you or nurture you. These streets so full of joy. So full of hope. So promising. So full of pleasant and unpleasant surprises.
These streets are rough. Rougher than anything I've ever seen in my life so far. Rougher than anything I will probably ever see.
And when you don't pay attention they'll eat you alive. These streets will eat you alive. You. Your kids. And your entire family.
The moment you give yourself up is the moment these streets will swallow you alive. No mercy. The moment you lose faith in yourself you'll be gone. Forever.
The moment you stop believing in yourself is the moment you lost. The moment you won't be able to ever get out of that maze again. The maze called life.
And then all of a sudden I saw one of the most amazing things I've seen in a long time. Something I might never forget. Something that changed my life. Forever. Or maybe just for that moment. Maybe just for a few seconds. I don't know..
I experienced the beauty of what it means to be a human being. Of not giving yourself up. Of believing in yourself. Of what it means to make the best out of the situation you're put in.
Among all the trash on the streets I saw a woman sitting on the side of the street. She was a street sweeper. She was just sitting there with her feet so dirty you could barely see her skin. And she was polishing her toenails with a red nail polish that she probably just found on the streets.
I can't help myself but this is probably the single most beautiful thing I've seen in a very long time. It made me feel alive again. It made me feel connected to a real human being again.
Even when you're put in some of the worst conditions on this planet, when you're a street sweeper in one of the poorest countries on earth, it's all about not giving yourself up.
It's about fighting. About believing in yourself. About taking good care of yourself. About making yourself feel precious. Even if it's just for yourself. And no one else. It's about hope. And never giving up..
And sometimes it's about painting your toenails with red nail polish even though your feet are so dirty that you don't even remember their real color anymore..
[Related: I stopped giving a shit a long time ago]