Today is a Great Day…
My mind loves to show off its fabulous memory. It’s forever sifting through its files and making grandiose judgments: the food in this restaurant used to be so much better than it is now. Sunsets are way better in Bali. Oh my God, this beach is crap — remember Champagne Beach in Vanuatu, now THAT was a beach. Wow, she’s just DESTROYED her face!
On and on my mind goes, always flaunting its superior knowledge and experiences — and ruining my day. After all, if everything was so much better in the past, how can I possibly enjoy what I’m living right here in THIS moment?
Take for example, my flight on Ethiopian Airlines yesterday. Now this is not an airline that my mind would voluntarily choose, but since it offered the best schedule between Hong Kong and Entebbe, Uganda, I went ahead and bought the ticket.
My mind did not approve at all. We’ll be lucky to get there alive, it complained. Ethiopians are marathon runners, not aviators. What do they know about running an airline? When the African flight crew arrived at the gate to board the aircraft, my mind almost fainted. Those are the PILOTS??!!, it screamed. Hey, don’t you remember that Tom Hanks movie we just saw? This looks exactly like a gang of Somalian pirates. PLEASE so not make me get on that plane. Speaking of which, I cannot even begin to imagine the piece of shit we’re going to be flying on.
“Well, stop imagining!”, I shouted back. “I’m tired of you and the stupid stories you’re always making up about everything and everybody. The truth is that YOU are full of shit. You live in the past — and here’s a news flash — the past is over, it’s dead, finito. I don’t bloody care what you saw in 1998 or what some asshole said on TV. And nobody else does either, by the way.”
My mind didn’t like my new attitude. Hey, I’m just trying to protect you, it whined.
“Well, you can save it. I will not be a slave to your memories of the past — which aren’t even very accurate, in case you haven’t noticed. Everything was always a lot rosier back in the good old days, wasn’t it? But I seem to recall you complaining a lot back then, too. Now, you’ve turned everything upside down. Those beautiful images you’re always reminding me about aren’t the truth — they’re just fantasies you’ve decided to create. You, my dear mind, fall in love with ideas.
My mind was shocked into silence while we boarded the plane, which turned out to be a new Boeing 787 Dreamliner. My mind still kept its mouth shut during the flight, which was smooth and pleasant, while the cabin crew were professional and friendly. Yes, but the food wasn’t nearly up to the standards of Emirates or Etihad, said a small voice.
“There you go again! Why don’t we try an experiment. Pretend this is your first time on an airplane and this is your first trip to Africa. How does it feel? Really feel, in this moment?
It feels fun. And really exciting. I can’t say I’ve ever been keen to have a layover in Addis Ababa, but I love how the name bounces around in my mouth. I kind of feel like a little kid! And I can’t wait to see those mountain gorillas when we get to Uganda. I wonder if they’ll be like “Gorillas in the Mist”?
“Whoa, there you go again, always comparing. Forget the movie. We’re going to walk into that jungle and not have a single expectation, other than that we’re going to have an awesome time.”
Because TODAY is a great day…
I’m on my way to a Mountain Gorilla photo safari in Uganda and Rwanda. I’ll let you know how it goes and share some of my photos.