Living in the Moment, Bangladeshi-style
Americans have the luxury, and pressure, of planning for their futures. They have time. It’s amazing how often I have complained in America that I never have enough time. It is one of my biggest complaints, and one of my biggest excuses. The Bangladesh people of Cox’s Bazar do not have the luxury of using the “not enough time” excuse. They live in the moment, truly.
We say “Live in the moment. You never know if tomorrow will ever come. Tell your loved ones how you feel. Express gratitude.” and so on, as a way to appreciate all that we have. But the Bangladeshi people live one day at a time, because they do not know if they can eat tomorrow, see their friends again, be sold off into a marriage with a stranger…
When they eat, they are grateful their bellies are not screaming for food. When they bathe, they are grateful they are not covered in dust from their dirt floors. When they celebrate a holiday, they are grateful for another day with their families.
Americans often think of the future – deprive themselves now to save for retirement, sign up for eHarmony to find their soul-mate and procreate, find a house to keep their future babies, pay off their debt and save for their children’s future, find a better job to make more money to pay off more debt from more things accumulated. Work your way up the corporate ladder, add to your 401K, compare yourself to your neighbor. Buy a new car, pay more for insurance, curse as you clean up the stains that your child made in your new upholstery.
Sound familiar? This is similar to how I live, unfortunately. But after arriving in Bangladesh, I have conveniently let a lot slide. In my down time, I am not obsessing over the future, but reflecting on what I did and saw during the day. I am not obsessing over the new home I need to find in the 30 days after my return; I am reflecting on the beautiful people I met today. I am not obsessing over my next freelance paycheck; I am reflecting on the beautiful landscape and scenery outside my hotel room. I am not obsessing over my age or weight or ovaries or split-ends.
I am currently concerned with whether Nasima will come surf at San Martin with us tomorrow, and if there are enough donated sandals for the young girls in the surf club, and how I can improve my balance so I can finally stand up on the surf board when I catch the next wave.
Written by Molly Celaschi
Photos by Molly Celaschi