I remember at the age of 15, it was the time I had already laid out a plan for my future life. It was the time I knew exactly — in general terms — who and what I wanted to be. Surprisingly (or not surprisingly), after 13 years, my list of dreams has not changed that much. And thank G-d, after a whole LOT of waiting, I am finally living most of those dreams.
But as with any kind of life, it is always never as you expect it to be. Many times, I find myself extremely sad of present circumstances; nostalgic of the life I have left behind; doubtful of the rightness of the choices I have made; and fearful of the future that seems so bleak and unwanted.
And then, I get a reminder.
It cannot be denied that there is happiness in gratitude. The Mishnah says: “Who is rich? He who rejoices in his portion. For it is said: ‘When you enjoy the work of your hands, then you shall stride forward and it shall be well with you’ (Pirkei Avot 4:1).” Who rejoices in one’s portion? Only the one who is grateful. In Rabbi Shimson Rafael Hirsch’s commentary on this mishnah, he says: “…a man’s craving for more and more may well grow to such excess that the lack of what he does not now possess may actually mar his joy in whatever he does have at present. Yet it is precisely this joy in what one possesses, this contentment with one’s portion that constitutes the only genuine treasure and the sole true happiness in life; without it, even the richest of men will remain poor in the midst of all his wealth.”
Where was I 13 years ago when dreams were just dreams yet I was so hopeful? What happened to that person who kept on praying for strength and patience until those dreams come true? Where is that part of me that did not stop working for and looking forward to those dreams? And now that I actually find myself in that future I have only dreamt 13 years ago, I cry because I did not expect it to be so difficult?
No! I will not be an ingrate! At least, not today.