“There is more to life than simply increasing its speed.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Street signals tell you to ‘Slow down’ and ‘Allow traffic’, to ‘stop’ and ‘watch for pedestrians’. On Tuesday 21st of August, 2012, I read those exact signs differently.

As I was planning to go back home after a productive day in the university, I received a warning from a friend to stay there, as an apparent bomb threat had caused police to evacuate the area near my home in the country I reside in.

Entering the library, the sign ‘emergency exit’ screamed at me, reminding me of times when gas masks were forced on me as a child to protect against possible chemical outbreaks, checkpoints in every compound were erected to stop more deaths in my hometown and preparation of an emergency bag to immediately flee if anything happens was suggested; all while praying for it all to be false alarm.

“The ultimate meaning to which all stories refer has two faces: the continuity of life, the inevitability of death.” ~ Italo Calvino

As much as I was mysteriously calm, a thought interrupted me by using the old I still have a lot to accomplish in this world. I sat there playing along with that thought, both for boredom and worry’s sake. I flickered sharply through files of beautiful and dark moments, through people I lost and people I gained, through people I hated and people I loved, through sorrows and hardships and hard learnt lessons. The sign in the library brushed the message: quiet study zone.

I realised this: I have already accomplished a lot in my life, through the good and through the lessons taught from the bad and the new me that emerged each time as a result. I always wondered if I will regret something in my life, but as I was pondering the length left in my life span I found to my ultimate joy; I had no regrets.

“Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.” ~ Rumi

And as I was told I can go back home, the bus journey felt different. I was paying more attention to the houses, the flowers, the little marks on the roads, people’s expressions. I remembered on that same morning seeing an unfortunate man who seemed to have been in an accident and resulted in his face being deformed, was that a sign? Something telling me to be grateful for every moment in my life.

Well, the message was loud and clear. I am grateful God.

“When you get everything you wanted, I think maybe you do have to be a little grateful for the people who got you there… whether or not they thought they were doing you any favors at the time.” ~ Jennifer Weiner


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