A very good friend talks often about the red bus of life. Basically, we are all on a journey on a red bus, then someone drops off it or is pushed or jumps, but the bus continues. Eventually, we will all leave the bus. Life is a journey of varying durations.
Last October, the red bus stopped to let off a mate of mine. He was in his prime. Then it stopped again two days later to let off my brother who, despite a progressive condition, was thought to have more time left. Two months later, the bus dropped off my elderly father-in-law. Then 2016 started. David Bowie fell off the bus, followed by many other well-known and much-admired people. In February, a distant friend, who had written anonymously for MsD, decided to leave the bus, and yesterday, a dear friend of nearly thirty years, was also pushed off the bus. There are more to come. It could be you, it could be me. It will be, one day, though hopefully not too soon.
So, when my daughter presented me with a Dutch word, Gezelligheid, I looked more closely, as it struck me that it is what makes a life lived. Gezellig is socialising, having fun, enjoying life. Not necessarily in a frenetic way.
… there is even an expression that goes, “Gezelligheid kent geen grenzen,” meaning “Gezellig-ness knows no limits…
In the blog post link above, I especially like this:
Think about a neighborhood café with a resident cat licking its paws in the corner; think about a canal house with a window box full of blooming tulips; think about time spent curled up on the sofa with your best friend watching a movie; think about a visit to your grandparents house for a home-cooked dinner… if all of these thoughts giving you a warm, positive vibe, that’s gezellig.
Gezellig is not really in my vocabulary. I’m not Dutch for starters, but I am constantly striving, aspiring, thinking ‘what next?’ or even ‘what now?’ My brain rarely stops long enough to experience Gezellig. There are rare moments when I experience it. When I feel a kind of contentment at living in the moment, taking joy and delight in little things, nothing dramatic, but friendship is one of them. I guess it is being in the right place, with the right person, doing the right thing, which may actually be doing nothing. As the blog post says that can be visiting someone, having a home-cooked dinner, sitting on the sofa with a good friend watching a movie. It is the moment when you feel at one when you don’t need to communicate to the rest of the world, where you truly are living in the moment. You don’t even feel the need to say to people “I love my life” because you are too busy living it.
What loss does to me, apart from the obvious sadness, is to make me think: I need to live or start living a life more contented. Or as my daughter says: Gezelligheid