Life lessons from Irini.

Hello hello and happy November! It’s been awhile, friends. This internship has me barely hanging on so for your health, I sure you’re hope you’re doing better than I. I do believe if you looked up “bedraggled” in the dictionary, you would see my picture. Namely a picture of me with bags so big under my eyes it looked like I got punched, running down to my car in the morning carrying 18 bags of stuff, a coffee in one hand and a yogurt in the other. Needless to say, I haven’t quite had time to post anything lately- no energy, no time, no inspiration. But before I left my last rotation, I got a big dose of inspiration in the form of a four-and-a-half foot Greek woman named Irini and I’ve been meaning to tell you all about it for quite some time. So here we go.

Irini is a chef in the kitchen where I did my foodservice rotation a few weeks ago. She’s like a wonderful chocolate truffle in the sense that she’s tough but has the softest, sweetest center. She is the light of the kitchen at the dining hall. Always has a smile, even when she’s up to her ears in prep work. She has a wonderful air about her- she makes you feel comfortable from the first time you meet her with all her “sweeties” and “honeys” she throws your way. She’s been one of my favorites from the very start.

Anywho, before I left foodservice, I was making my way around the dining hall staff, saying my goodbyes (a task that I very much dread. I don’t do well with goodbyes or even see-you-laters). Irini was the last person I saw on my way out and she gave me a big, big hug and wished me well and told me she’d be thinking about me. Right as I was leaving, she said, “I don’t believe in luck so that’s why I’m not saying it.” Intrigued, I settled in to her station and asked what she believes in, if not luck. She said, “Nothing in this life in luck. Everything is a blessing. People tell me I’m lucky even when I get a good parking space in the morning and I say no, these are blessings.” I liked that. I liked that a whole lot.

I’ve never much liked the idea of luck. I don’t like the idea of the haphazardness and randomness of luck. And I don’t agree with the belief luck is what happens for people who work hard. I don’t believe that one bit. There are a lot of people out there, working exceptionally hard with not a single drop of luck to share. It’s not that easy. Sometimes, life has too many roadblocks despite how hard you work.

So the idea that things in life are not a product of luck nor not a product of work is comforting to me. That the things we enjoy are blessings. That the things that we have in life are a gift from the great big ol’ universe. Blessings are often associated with religion, but they don’t have to be. Not for me, anyways. I have a funny relationship with religion- but that’s another story for another time and I won’t bore you with it now. Suffice it to say that you can recognize the blessings in life no matter who or what you believe in.

I think it’s important to recognize these little blessings. How beautiful the trees are on my ride to work. When I have extra time in my day to grab coffee. When I have a couple minutes in the morning to do some yoga. When I find a little used bookstore before an appointment. These things are not something we deserve, they are not our “right” as a human, they are blessings and we are lucky.

I am grateful for these things everyday. For the last few months, the internship has me feeling like I’m underwater. Like I’m tied down by a bunch of obligations and projects and anxiety and negative thoughts and I just want to swim to the surface for air. And this weekend, I felt these ties being cut, one by one, for one whole day and I breathed it all in so deep. I  felt those blessings deeper than I have in weeks, I remembered what it was like to not feel like I’m drowning. It was so wonderfully refreshing. My point here is that it’s important to recognize that these blessings in our life and not dismiss them as “luck” but recognize them as something bestowed by the greater power of the universe. We’re not lucky to be here, we’re not lucky to be given this life; we’re blessed. Thanks for the reminder, Irini.

Happy Monday, friends.

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